Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Weekly News Conference—China Trade Mission
September 10, 2003

Good afternoon, and thanks for coming today. With me are Martha Choe, Director of the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, and Valoria Loveland, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

We are here to announce our international trade mission to China next month. I will lead a delegation from our state to China from October 11th to October 18th. We will spend that time promoting trade, tourism and investment in Washington state companies.

We will be making stops in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. We will meet with top Chinese government and business leaders. Our state’s delegation will include leaders from government, agriculture, technology, business, and education.

This trip will offer exceptional business opportunities for Washington companies. We’ll focus especially on agriculture and high technology, but we’ll be working for all Washington businesses. We will also have good opportunities to further enrich our educational and cultural exchanges with China.

China is one of our top trading partners. We must continue to leverage our strategic geographic position. We want to keep and expand our position as a leader in sales and exports to China and opportunities for investment in our state by Chinese companies.

As you know, China is now part of the World Trade Organization, and will host the 2008 Olympics. These major developments present immediate opportunities for Washington companies. But we must move now.

Trade is vital to our state’s economy. It generates $95 billion per year overall. We are the fourth largest exporter in the United States.

Last year, our trade missions to Japan, Korea, China and Singapore were very successful.

We returned from Japan and Korea with immediate new sales for Washington businesses. We also returned with opportunities. During our visits to Japan and Korea, for example, we discussed the potential use of Washington potato products with snack food manufacturers.

In February of this year, a delegation of Korean food manufacturers came to Washington to continue our discussions and tour our processing plants and farms. Test shipments have been sent!

We’re now also getting support from Japanese potato chip manufacturers who want to open the Japanese market to our fresh potatoes. These developments are the direct result of last year’s trade mission.

Last December we promoted Boeing airplane sales in China and discussed other opportunities. Now Washington companies will play a major role in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

On that same trip, we promoted biotechnology in Singapore. Singapore is now interested in investing in biotech companies in our state – with money for expansion and research. These trips pay off.

Our trade missions are important in increasing and improving international trade. They help stimulate our state’s economic growth. And in these tough economic times, trade creates badly needed jobs.

We’ve seen that to build strong trade partnerships, there is no substitute for in-person meetings with our partners, face-to-face. Healthy trade requires focus on relationships, not just transactions. Trade missions are about developing these relationships with our trade partners.

We are looking forward to this trade mission and the opportunities it will provide for Washington. We will do our best to further advance the interests of our state.

We are all excited about the great potential of this trade mission. I have confidence in the delegation we’ve assembled. Our itinerary is very ambitious—but very promising. We will work hard to advance our state’s position as a leader in two-way trade with China. We are confident that we will return with good news for you in the media—and for the people of Washington state.

Thank you.

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