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June 3, 2004

Message from the Governor

Washington has a broad–based economy, ranging from traditional industries like aerospace, forest products, and agriculture to the emerging and growing sectors of biotechnology, software, telecommunications, environmental science and e–commerce. We have ties to key trading partners in countries around the world. Our state's economic future depends, in part, on nurturing and expanding these trade relationships.

We are one of the most trade–oriented states in America. Washington exports for 2002 totaled $35 billion. We are the fourth largest exporting state in the United States.

This week I’ve been promoting two–way trade and tourism in Germany and France. Both countries are among our state's top export markets. A recent CTED study ranked Germany as the top future European market for Washington companies.

Quote of the Week
“Strong trade relationships are especially important to us. Our state’s economy is still recovering from the effects of September 11th, and the resulting economic downturn. We value our close relationships with good trade partners like France and Germany.”
—Governor Locke, June 3, 2004

We are honored and pleased that the French and German people are familiar with so many of our state’s great products. These include Boeing airplanes, Microsoft products and services, Starbucks coffee, Eddie Bauer and many other businesses and exceptional agricultural products from Washington.

Today I announced our state’s new trade representative in Germany, Anja Kathrin Herzberg. This reflects the high priority we place on trade, investment and tourism opportunities in Germany. We are confident that this step will help increase two–way trade and tourism opportunities in Germany and across Europe for Washington businesses and farmers.

Our state’s France trade representative, Dominique Gervais, focuses primarily on tourism development in France and Europe.

This week I also met with Air France executives to discuss potential non–stop service from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport to Paris. Paris is the city with the largest amount of traffic that is not currently served by direct passenger flights from Sea–Tac Airport. The potential market for nonstop service is very promising. Direct passenger service between Paris and Seattle would be beneficial to both France and the state of Washington.

Washington state is a popular destination for French travelers. France ranks 7th in European tourism visitors to Washington. And the people of our state enjoy visiting the city of Paris and the rest of France.

We believe there are many opportunities for our state to expand trade and tourism with Germany and France. Later this month, we will travel to Mexico on a trade mission with a delegation of business and agriculture leaders from around the state. There we will introduce our new part–time trade representative, and work to open more doors for Washington companies. I am scheduled to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox during the mission, as well as other top government officials.

These missions yield results. As a result of our 1999 mission to Mexico, for example, the historic first–ever shipments of fresh Washington potatoes were sent to Mexico in May 2003. We exported $607 million in products to Mexico in 2003. This was an increase of 40 percent from the previous year. This reflects our rich history of business, educational and cultural exchanges with Mexico.

We’ve seen that to build strong trade partnerships, there is no substitute for in–person visits and meetings with our partners, face–to–face. Healthy trade requires focus on relationships, not just transactions. The benefits of our trade partnerships are a direct result of the investments we’ve been willing to make—investments of time and effort and genuine interest in other countries. The economic and cultural gains we achieve are clearly worth the investment.

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

Governor’s Priorities
News Highlights

Helping Veterans Find Jobs
Governor Locke has proclaimed June 2004 as Hire–A–Veteran Month. “Washington’s veterans are a well–trained pool of labor with a wide range of technical skills,” the Governor said. “I encourage employers to hire these individuals who have served our country with dedication, perseverance and courage.” More than 632,000 veterans live in Washington, ranking the state fourth in the nation for its per capita veteran population. On–the–job training, college tuition and other special programs are available to help them find work. In conjunction with Hire–A–Veteran Month, job fairs will be held statewide to match skilled veterans with employers.

Wanted: Improved Hood Canal Water Quality
Eagle Creek at Hood canal The Puget Sound Action Team is offering up to $600,000 for innovative and effective projects to help improve dissolved oxygen levels in Hood Canal. Levels of dissolved oxygen in Hood Canal have declined during the past several years to such an extent that many fish, shellfish and invertebrate species are threatened. The Hood Canal Low Dissolved Oxygen Preliminary Assessment and Corrective Action Plan, released last month by the Action Team and Hood Canal Coordinating Council, identifies the primary human sources of nutrient pollution in Hood Canal. Projects must address at least one of the key sources of nitrogen identified in the report: human sewage, agricultural manure, chum salmon carcasses and stormwater runoff.

Digital Government Success
Parents can now track their latest child support payments on a Web site provided by the DSHS’s Division of Child Support. Parents who pay child support and parents who receive child support can view online the last five payments posted to their child support case. The Web site provides employers and individuals a secure and convenient way to make child support payments online by electronic funds transfers. This new service is free. Washington state is recognized nationally as a leader in the use of technology to improve child support collections. Last year, the Child Support Internet Payment site received the Governor’s Award for Public Benefit and Value. The site was also honored with the Washington Software Alliance’s 2003 Industry Achievement Award in the “Outstanding Contribution to Digital Government” category.

Success Story: National Award Winner at DSHS
Mike O'Brien, director of the DSHS’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, has received the President's Service Award from the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR). O’Brien received the award from CSAVR President John C. Wyvill, who said, “Mike is widely respected as an authority in public vocational rehabilitation. He has a great ability to communicate within the state, federal and academic vocational rehabilitation communities.” Carl Suter, a CSARV director, said, “Mike O’Brien has undertaken critical assignments from the CSAVR leadership in helping to mold various public policies involving employment issues on behalf of persons with disabilities. The knowledge and passion he brings to issues has been both refreshing and inspiring. Mike O’Brien is a true champion on behalf of persons with disabilities.”

Upcoming Events
6/9:  Summer Reading Challenge Kickoff, Spokane
6/9:  World Trade Club Annual Dinner, Seattle
6/10: Judicial Announcement, Tri–Cities
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