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October 1, 2004

Message from the Governor

We just returned last Friday from a 10-day trade mission to China and Vietnam. The goal was to strengthen our trade ties with China and develop new opportunities in Vietnam for our state’s agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors.

Gov. Gary Locke meets with Prime Minister Phan Van Khai of Vietnam for the first time to discuss opportunities for Washington state.We were very successful. Our business delegates are reporting actual sales of $1.4 million, and approximately $41.4 million in projected new sales during the next 12 months—all as a result of our mission.

In 2003, China was Washington’s third largest export market. We exported more than $2.3 billion in goods and services to China.

China has enormous needs that Washington state companies and institutions can meet. There is a great potential for paper/wood products, food and agriculture, electronics, industrial machinery, and medical equipment and environmental technology.

We made great progress in China during the mission, including:

  • Signing a higher education agreement between Pierce College and the Beijing Foreign Studies University for a faculty exchange program
  • Meeting with President Jintao Hu—a rare and valuable exception to standard political protocol
  • Meetings with officials in Guangdong province, the economic engine of China, to discuss trade opportunities
  • Announcing a second trade representative for our state in China, located in Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong province to further open opportunities for Washington companies.

Vietnam shows great promise as a newly emerging market for Washington state products and services. Vietnam was our state’s 13th largest export market last year. Our exports here were more than $735 million. We exported more to Vietnam than any other state in the U.S. last year. Vietnam is hungry for U.S. products, machinery, medicine, business management expertise and American education.

This was my first trade mission to Vietnam. The few days in Vietnam helped us to learn more about the beautiful country, its people, its culture, and its business environment. We met with the Prime Minister Phan Van Khai of Vietnam, top government officials and business leaders.

Gov. Locke passing out apples in Veitnam.We helped celebrate the arrival of a Boeing 777 with Vietnam Airlines. This is Vietnam Airlines’ fourth direct purchase of a 777. We hope the airline will place orders for the new Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner, too!

In Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, we visited the Metro market, the equivalent of a Costco, and promoted Washington apples. Vietnam is one of the fastest growing and highest value markets for Washington apples. Washington apples account for more than 90 percent of all U.S. apple exports. And more than 50 percent of U.S. apples are produced in our state.

As I arrived at the Metro, I saw people leaving with apples in their bags. Through the plastic bags, I could see the Washington apple logo.

Quote of the Week
“We deeply value our state’s strong trade relationship with China. And we’re very excited to learn more about Vietnam, and to pursue trade, and education and cultural exchanges.”
—Governor Locke, News Conference, September 27, 2004

We also noticed that in the freezer food section, there were French fries that are processed in Washington state with our potatoes. And in a KFC in Ho Chi Minh City, I served French fries to customers and promoted Washington potatoes.

The potato industry is very important to the state of Washington and its farmers. We are the top U.S. producer of French fries. We pride ourselves on growing very high-quality potatoes for such premium products.

Export sales are a vital part of this industry. And Vietnam is an increasingly important export market for French fries. In 1995, there were no U.S. French fries entering the country. But last year, Vietnam imported almost 200 metric tons ($145,000). The majority of those shipments are made in Washington state processing plants and shipped through Washington state ports.

Healthy trade requires focus on relationships, not just transactions. To build strong trade partnerships, there is no substitute for in-person visits and meetings with our partners, face-to-face.

Our trade missions yield results. These missions benefit Washington businesses, farmers and citizens, and create jobs for our state. We are making a difference. And we’re making the “Made in Washington” label a symbol known and trusted around the world.

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

Governor’s Priorities
News Highlights

Monitoring Mt. St. Helens
Governor Locke and the state Emergency Management Division continue to closely monitor the situation developing at Mt. St. Helens. October 1 around Noon, Mt. St. Helens released steam mixed with ash. This minor event was consistent with what had been expected by scientists. The state has moved its Emergency Operations Center to a Phase 3 activation. View of Mt. St. HelensRepresentatives from relevant state agencies have been dispatched to the EOC and will be preparing to assist in whatever way they are needed. Since 1980, we have developed sophisticated monitoring and communications systems to gather and share information. We have taken many steps to mitigate possible hazards in the area. Our state has been a leader in hazard mitigation, as witnessed by our recent first-in-the-nation completion of an enhanced hazard mitigation plan earlier this year, as required by FEMA.

Improving Young Lives
Governor Locke signed a first-of-its kind agreement with the Colville Confederated Tribes to help young offenders get their lives back on track on September 29. The agreement will enable the tribal court to send young offenders to residential custody and care through the state Department of Social and Health Services’ Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA). “This agreement is the first of its kind in the state, and is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation,” the Governor said during the signing. “We would like to see additional partnerships between other tribes and the JRA. Youthful offenders in our state deserve these opportunities to better their lives, and JRA provides comprehensive, effective help to improve lives and give young people a chance to get back on track.”

The Governor said the state’s juvenile rehabilitation system would also benefit from the partnership. “Under this agreement, Colville Confederated Tribes will work with JRA in developing cultural programming services in JRA residential care facilities,” he said. “Such services will enrich the experiences of native youth. And since any interested youth in JRA care will also be able to receive these services, all will benefit from a stronger element of diversity in the system. Diversity is our greatest strength.”

Honoring Washington Heroes
Governor Locke presented 52 lifesaving and humanitarian awards at the 53rd Annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Spokane on September 29. The awards honor citizens from around the state for their heroism. “We are grateful for all of today’s award winners,” the Governor said in presenting the awards. “These are true profiles in courage. To save a life is a profound contribution to humanity. For the victims saved, and for their families. But also for every one of us. Such heroism elevates the human spirit and inspires us. The selfless act of one human being ennobles all of us.” Among those honored were a man who jumped into a moving car to rescue a driver who had collapsed over the steering wheel; a man who saved a young boy from a fiery car crash; and a husband and wife who saved a young boy from drowning after he got caught in a riptide.

Keeping Washington’s Air Clean
Governor Locke announced two important projects to reduce air pollution in Washington on September 30. The Princess Shore Power Project will enable cruise ships to plug in their ships and receive electric power instead of having to run their pollution-emitting turbine engines while at the dock. Princess Cruises is putting up $1.5 million for the shore power retrofit. Princess has already paid $500,000 per ship to retrofit both their ships that sail out of Puget Sound. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the Port of Seattle have also made key contributions to this project, and the Environmental Protection Agency is committing $50,000 in funding to Seattle City Light. The Governor also announced a $100,000 grant from EPA for truckstop electrification in Washington. The concept is very similar — if trucks can plug in at truck stops instead of running their diesel engines, the amount of emissions put into our air will be reduced.

Success Story: Helping Veterans, Saving Taxpayer Money
A Washington State project aimed at helping veterans receive the health benefits they are due has picked up an ally in neighboring Oregon. Project sponsors say it should pay off in even bigger savings for Washington taxpayers. After Washington State helped Oregon officials explore the potential of the program, Oregon opted to join the Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS). PARIS is a pool of data from participating states and the federal government that helps veterans get the benefits they deserve and prevents clients from drawing duplicate benefits from two states. The project has been credited with saving more than $1 million for state taxpayers. The project has identified more than 3,000 veterans who need assistance, and it estimates potential savings statewide at more than $22 million.

Upcoming Events

10/6: Weekly News Conference, Olympia

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