Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
World Trade Club Annual Dinner
May 29, 2003
Thank you, Keith.
Good evening everyone.
It’s a pleasure to be here tonight.
I want to begin by congratulating the World Trade Club, one of the oldest and largest international trade organizations in our state.
Just imagine—the WTC has been around now as long as Tupperware, the Slinky, and frozen dinners.
In 1946 when the WTC was founded, Winston Churchill observed that an “Iron Curtain” had descended upon Europe.
The following year, Bernard Baruch spoke of a “Cold War” that gripped the world for decades thereafter.
Times have thankfully changed.
But the years have shown that what the WTC believed in 57 years ago still holds true today—international trade is vitally important to the global community.
And international trade is also vitally important to our state.
Our exports totaled $35 billion last year.
One out of every three jobs here is trade related.
We are now the fourth largest exporter in the United States.
The only states ranked ahead of us are Texas, California and New York, only because they’re so much bigger.
We have significant competitive advantages in international trade.
We have outstanding deep-water ports.
We are one day closer to Asia than the West Coast ports of Oregon and California.
And we offer a wide variety of products and services valued in overseas markets.
Tonight we will celebrate some of those products and services.
I congratulate WesMar Western Marine Electronics of Woodinville for winning the Trader of the Year Award.
And congratulations to Armstrong Lumber Company of Auburn on the Emerging Trader of the Year Award.
Our state is very proud of both companies.
Last summer during my trade mission to Japan, I was fortunate enough to attend an Armstrong model home tour.
The quality Armstrong homes using American construction techniques and technology were a big hit. It’s great to see our companies successfully competing in the global marketplace.
We are proud of all the great Washington businesses that help make our state a leader in international trade.
Our trade missions to Japan, Korea, China and Singapore last year were very successful.
Those missions helped our businesses sell products and services to some of the world’s most promising markets.
We returned from Japan and Korea with immediate new sales for Washington businesses.
We also returned with opportunities.
During our visit to Korea, for example, we promoted Washington potato products with Korean snack food manufacturers.
In February, a delegation of Korean food manufacturers came to Washington to continue our discussions and tour our processing plants and farms.
That visit and the resultant sales grew out of last year’s trade mission.
This past December we promoted Boeing airplane sales in a one day trip to China.
China is already our 3rd largest export trade partner.
It is a huge market with great potential for the sale of Washington products and services.
Beijing will also be hosting the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. We also showcased our many Washington companies that can help Beijing put on the games. I am proud to say many Washington companies will be playing a major role in the design, engineering and construction of the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.
On that same trip, we also promoted Washington biotechnology to Singapore.
Singapore is now interested in funding biotech companies in our state and recently came to visit some of our great biotech firms.
These trips pay off.
Our trade missions are important in increasing trade and improving international relationships.
They help stimulate our state’s economic growth.
In these tough economic times, trade creates badly needed jobs.
We must continue to pursue these golden opportunities for more jobs in our state.
Now more than ever, we must aggressively capitalize on and protect our competitive advantage in trade.
Other states are also struggling with record deficits and bad economic news.
Competition will only intensify.
Expanding trade and pressing our state’s many advantages is even more important as we strive to recover economically.
We must continue to work hard to make sure that Washington products are not unfairly excluded from other countries.
We must work to resolve the softwood lumber dispute with Canada.
We must take advantage of new market access opportunities in Singapore and Chile with the Free Trade Agreements recently negotiated in those countries.
Opportunities abound around the globe.
Washington state is well-positioned to seize these trade opportunities.
And we will.
That’s why I plan to continue our successful record of trade missions to promote Washington products and services.
We are planning a longer visit to China this October.
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.
The benefits have been a direct result of the investments we’ve been willing to make.
Investments of time and effort and genuine interest in other countries.
Healthy trade requires focus on relationships, not just transactions.
Trade missions are about developing these relationships.
We will continue to give these relationships the attention they deserve.
Japan is our leading export market, accounting for $4.4 billion last year.
We have such a successful trade relationship with Japan because they are more than just trade partners to us.
We are blessed with a very large population of Japanese-Americans who make countless daily contributions to the very high quality of life in our state.
When Japanese people first arrived here, they struggled for both survival and acceptance.
They did the hardest and most humble jobs.
They worked as gardeners and laborers and builders.
They helped build our railroads and fished the salmon off our coast.
Today, our Japanese-American citizens are lawyers, engineers, software designers, artists, educators, and community and government leaders.
And let’s not forget a couple of remarkable baseball players named Ichiro, Sasaki and Hasegawa!
This mutually beneficial relationship with Japan is true with China, Korea, Taiwan and other countries. Our culture has been shaped and continues to be influenced by the art and customs of Asia architecture.
More than any other state our gardens, our cuisine, and our northwest style of living have been deeply influenced by Asia.
Our patterns of international trade and investment have been shaped by our friendship with Asia.
The benefits are mutual for millions of people on both sides of the Pacific.
We value and benefit from the numerous sister-city relationships and our official state ties with Asian cities and provinces.
They are our friends.
As I said, healthy trade focuses on relationships, not just transactions.
As we continue these relationships all around the world; Europe, Africa, Latin America, we must also continue to work hard to encourage investment in Washington.
Foreign companies looking for a U.S. location need to know that Washington companies make great partners.
Washington state is a great place to work—and a great place to live, too.
We must also do everything possible to keep our top companies here—including companies that strengthen our international trade.
As you know, we are energetically pursing Boeing 7E7 final assembly for our state.
Boeing has historically been a major exporter for our state and for our nation.
We want to keep Boeing assembly and supplier jobs right here in Washington where they belong.
We believe that Washington is the best choice for Boeing.
Every major Boeing commercial jetliner but one has been assembled here.
We have the manufacturing facilities, the equipment, and the tooling in place.
The best trained, most highly skilled, and most experienced aerospace workforce is here.
The best hearts and minds in Washington have gone into Boeing airplanes, and we are proud of that fact.
We have formed a statewide 7E7 team.
Our team includes county and local leaders, businesses and unions, tribal leaders and community groups.
We are collaborating with members of our congressional delegation to marshal all of our state’s forces.
This unified, bipartisan effort is unprecedented. We are determined to win for our state.
We continue to improve our state’s business climate because we want to keep top companies like Boeing.
And we want to attract other great companies from around the United States and around the world.
The Washington Competitiveness Council I convened issued some very challenging recommendations to make our state more competitive.
That was 18 months ago.
Since then, we have enacted virtually all of the key recommendations made by the Council.
So we have been walking the talk for quite a while now, long before the 7E7 criteria came out two weeks ago.
We took another giant step last week when I signed our new transportation improvement package into law.
This was the number one imperative of the Council.
We are already moving forward with these improvements.
We are charging ahead to make life easier for Boeing and for other companies in our state.
We’ve also cut red tape, and streamlined regulatory processes.
The Department of Ecology has led the way in transforming to a more business-friendly approach, without compromising environmental priorities.
Last week I also signed into law a bill that consolidates the appeals process in the permitting of complex projects.
This will speed up permitting and allow for timely economic development.
As we continue to improve our state’s business climate, we must do all we can to create and support jobs in our state.
Expanding international trade is part of my plan to create jobs.
There are other steps we must also take.
The Legislature’s approval of my proposed state construction budget will mean more than 13,000 new private sector construction and other family-wage jobs during the next two years.
These are jobs building and renovating facilities on the campuses of our colleges and universities, our public schools and our prisons.
My proposal allows for $2.5 billion in new public works funding.
Let’s take advantage of the low interest rates and make the necessary improvements to our schools, colleges and universities and create thousands of good paying jobs.
We must also continue to give Washington communities more effective economic development tools.
This session we’ve created new tools to help local governments and rural areas in our state keep the businesses they have and attract new ones.
We must also continue to promote Washington’s technology strengths.
We must continue to pursue the development of industries of the future.
These growth industries will drive the emerging global economy.
We want to share in this innovation and prosperity.
That’s why our state government is a partner in the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative.
The Collaborative will promote Washington’s clean energy industry, a potential multibillion industry, meeting an urgent global need.
Supporting these global industries requires that we continue to prepare our workforce.
We must continue to invest in education, especially by supporting industries of the future like biotechnology, software, engineering and health sciences.
Our state’s businesses need these critical skills to serve their markets here and around the world.
The better educated and trained our workforce is, the more opportunities our citizens and children will have. The stronger our economy will be.
And we’ll be better able to keep and attract good businesses—from other parts of our country and other parts of the world.
We will achieve economic vitality for our state by building on our strengths.
And these investments in education, industries of the future, and economic development tools will ultimately help us expand international trade.
International trade is a cornerstone of our state’s economy.
It is a building block for recovery and growth.
We have unique opportunities to take trade to new levels around the world.
We must energetically pursue these opportunities.
And it’s nice to know that tonight I am preaching to the choir!
Thank you to the World Trade Club for your tireless efforts over the years in advocating vibrant trade, elevating trade awareness and promoting stronger cultural people-to-people relationships with our trading partners.
Your efforts make a big difference to our state.
Keep up the good work!