Gov. Jim Doyle left for a trip to Italy and Tunisia Wednesday to attend a series of high-power business and government meetings, and will be gone until Mar. 26.

Doyle will be meeting with business leaders from Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani in Italy, which is an international shipping firm that owns Marinette Marine and Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Doyle’s spokesperson, Adam Collins, said he will be working closely with Fincantieri’s executives to help secure a navy contract to build 10 Littoral Combat Ships in the state. The contract is very competitive and currently there are not many details available.

Fincantieri has made significant investments in Marinette Marine, according to a statement, including starting an expansion of the main indoor ship construction building. They have said they plan to transform it into the premier mid-tier shipyard in the United States.

Doyle said in a statement there is real potential with several Italian companies interested in investing and growing their businesses in Wisconsin.

“This is a great opportunity to continue our successful efforts to bring companies and their investments to Wisconsin,” Doyle said in the statement.

Doyle will also be meeting with the chief executive officer of the Fiat Corporation, as well as various other Italian companies to explore possible investments in the state, according to a statement.

In Tunisia, Doyle will be speaking with top Tunisian government officials, including the prime minister, the United States ambassador to Tunisia and Tunisian ministers of development, Collins said.

Tunisia has developed into a growing trade partner with Wisconsin under the governor’s leadership, Collins added, and there are several areas Tunisia has a need for that Wisconsin can match. These include dairy technology, agricultural and water technology, health technology and health research development.

Collins said during Doyle’s time in office from 2002-2008, there has been a 92 percent increase in state exports. Doyle has been working hard to secure opportunities for growth and trade.

“[The governor is] working to increase exports and to bring new businesses and investments here to Wisconsin,” Collins said.