Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington State China Relations Council Lunch
November 20, 2003
Good afternoon. I’d like to thank Joe Borich for inviting me here today.
It’s a pleasure to be back sharing China experiences with you. For the past 24 years, the Washington State China Relations Council has been an invaluable resource for Washington businesses and an important voice on China trade.
Today I’d like to share some of the successes of our recent trade mission, and discuss international trade’s importance to Washington state.
Last week Boeing signed an agreement with China for the purchase of Boeing airplanes. It was another important milestone for Boeing, China, our state and our country.
The Boeing-China agreement was the culmination of a long-term promoting and negotiating effort. The effort included our trade mission to China last month. It included my visit to China last December to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Boeing passenger jet sale to China. This long-term effort culminated in an agreement between Boeing and China. And a stronger bond between our state and China.
The airplane agreement will bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Washington, and sustain thousands of jobs. It opens the door wider for additional future airplane sales to China. And China is, of course, a market with nearly unlimited potential.
We saw more of that potential on our trade mission. In addition to last week’s Boeing airplane contract, there were many other successes. We are very committed to being a leader in global trade—providing jobs and dollars for our economy. That commitment was rewarded in China last month.
We went to China to actively promote two-way trade. Trade generates $95 billion per year overall for us. Washington is the fourth largest exporting state in the U.S. We exported $3.5 billion in products to China in 2002. It is our second largest export market today. Japan is first. But a recent CTED study ranked China as the No. 1 future export market for Washington state companies.
In China we met with top Chinese government and business leaders in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. This included meetings with national and provincial leaders, and the mayors of each of these cities. We focused on opportunities for agricultural products, businesses, high technology, and education.
We never stopped working in China, from pre-dawn to after-dark. The days were very full, because we didn’t want to miss any opportunities.
I have to laugh when I read off-hand comments in the media questioning whether we really need to be taking such trips. As if the missions are frivolous junkets, wonderful holidays filled with sightseeing and carefree relaxation. Don’t get me wrong—I find our missions profoundly illuminating and gratifying. And I love visiting China. But our trade missions entail hard work, long hours, high stress, and a sense that a lot rides on every conversation and meeting. Because it does.
And it’s all worth it. This was one of the most successful missions we’ve ever had. There were millions in immediate sales for Washington businesses and farmers. There will be more, as the Boeing deal shows.
There were business deals and prospects developed throughout the trip.
Web Press Corporation of Kent signed a contract with the People’s Daily, a leading Chinese publisher and printer. The value of this contract is estimated at $11 million annually.
A two-year contract between Mercer Island-based Global Equipment and Technology Co. and Huiton Huacheng Building Technologies was signed. This will create 20 Washington jobs with anticipated sales growing to $9 million.
MulvannyG2 Architecture, based in Bellevue, signed contracts in all three cities we visited on the mission. In Beijing, a contract valued at $420,000 was signed with Dalian Wanheng Real Estate Development Co. In Guangzhou, a contract valued at $500,000 was signed with Guangdong Grand South Capital Hotel Investment Management Co. In Shanghai, a $300,000 contract was signed with Shanghai Pudong Electric Power Co.
We obtained a significant commitment from the deputy director general of the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. He agreed to work toward completing a Pest Risk Assessment for U.S. fresh potatoes as soon as possible. This is the critical first step toward entry for Pacific Northwest fresh potatoes into China—a potentially huge market.
As you know, China will be hosting the 2008 Olympic games. We want Washington state companies involved in supporting this effort. We want to help plan, design, construct and manage some of the Olympic venues. We also hope to support the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. We met again with the 2008 Olympics Committee in Beijing. We also attended a briefing on the 2010 Shanghai World Expo in Shanghai. These major events will bring more opportunities for Washington companies and workers.
Green River Community College signed exchange agreements with three new Chinese partners.
There were other business successes, and there will be more future business as a result of the mission.
We helped open the newest Beijing Starbucks store. That was quite an experience. I served Starbucks coffee to Chinese customers who were in awe of the Starbucks name, their trembling hands treating the coffee with great reverence, like an elixir from heaven. Just like in Seattle. There are now 35 Starbucks stores in Beijing, with 68 total stores in China, plus 37 in Hong Kong. More to come.
Sharpe Mixers, a Seattle-based manufacturer/distributor of industrial mixers, participated in the trade mission to explore the feasibility of entering the Chinese market. Sharpe did more than just explore—they left with some solid leads and potential future business.
At LiShui Market in Guangzhou, we promoted Washington apples to thousands of spectators. The crowd included the most influential fruit importers and wholesalers in China. China is the largest producer of apples in the world. But it is also the third largest importer of Washington apples. China purchased 1.7 million boxes in 2002-03 at a value of more than $25 million. We expect that market to grow because of our visit.
Holtzinger Fruit Company, a large apple and cherry grower/packer in Yakima, was able to build new direct relationships with Chinese importers. We believe that the introductions achieved during the trade mission will bring sales over the next several months.
The trade mission strengthened our state's leadership in global commerce. The contracts, commitments, and prospects we gained will mean more jobs. The business and agricultural gains are a boost to our state’s economy. And we’re strengthening our ties to one of the world’s most promising markets and extraordinary cultures.
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 members of our delegation—including the business representatives—commented again and again on how powerful being there in China was as a business development tool. 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.
Healthy trade requires focus on relationships, not just transactions.
We have such a successful trade relationship with China because they are more than just trade partners to us. We are blessed with a sizable population of Chinese-Americans who make countless daily contributions to the very high quality of life in our state.
When Chinese people like my grandfather 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 Chinese-American citizens are lawyers, engineers, software designers, artists, educators, and community and government leaders.
Our culture has been partly shaped and continues to be influenced by the arts, history, music and ethic of China. Our cuisine and our traditions have been influenced by China.
And now our developing patterns of international trade and investment are being shaped by our growing friendship with China. The benefits are mutual for millions of people on both sides of the Pacific.
China has an enormous population with enormous needs – from feeding its people to environmental cleanup to medicine and technology. Washington state can help meet those needs. It’s a win-win.
As we continue these relationships, 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.
Looking ahead, I see a bright future for our state in international trade. We have many factors in our favor right now. We should continue to actively pursue lucrative markets beyond our national borders, and continue to invest in our friendships with other countries.
I want to thank the Washington State China Relations Council for your tireless efforts over the years in advocating vibrant trade with China, elevating China trade awareness, and helping Washington businesses. Your efforts make a big difference to our state. Keep up the good work!
Working together, we can strengthen our state’s leadership in international trade, especially in China. The economic and cultural benefits we can achieve will continue to make Washington a great place to live, work and raise a family.