Gov. Gregoire Leads Trade Delegation to Europe

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she will be leading a delegation of aerospace, automotive, life-science and education leaders to Paris, France and Hamburg, Germany to increase our state exports, encourage foreign investment and promote Washington’s higher education system and training programs. Gregoire will also make a short visit to Madrid, Spain.
“There is no greater job creator than face-to-face meetings with companies looking to do business in Washington state,” Gregoire said. “Our last trade mission is proof of that – in just over a week, we achieved more than $10 million in immediate new and forecast sales and contracts for Washington companies – providing our companies with revenue and capital to succeed and grow. Additionally, following that trade mission and hard work from our growers and producers, we saw food export sales to China and Hong Kong increase by 29 percent since last year. While the spotlight of this trip will be on our state’s aerospace industry, we’ll also be selling key advancements that Washington state companies have made in the life-sciences and automotive industries, and promoting our state’s higher education institutions.”
Gregoire will depart Seattle on June 16th, first stopping in Madrid to meet with executives at Dragados, the company awarded the SR 99 bored tunnel project. Gregoire will also tour the tunnel under the Madrid M-30 freeway, which Dragados recently completed. Additionally, Gregoire will meet with the governor of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, to discuss educational exchange opportunities, and will be joined by Washington State Commerce Director Rogers Weed for meetings with green energy companies Iberdrola and Enerfin.
Spain is also home to some incredible green-energy companies who are already doing work in Washington state,” Gregoire said. “I plan to meet with these companies, ensure they know what Washington state has to offer and urge them to look at us when considering expansion.”
Gregoire will join the trade mission delegation in Paris over the weekend to attend the 2011 Paris Air Show, the premier and largest worldwide event dedicated to the aviation and space industry. Approximately 20 Washington state companies, education institutions and labor groups will be exhibiting at the Air Show, highlighting Washington’s world-class aerospace training programs, its 650 aerospace companies, and its nearly 84,000 highly-skilled aerospace workers.
“The Paris Air Show allows Washington state to show the world that we are the premier location for aerospace,” Gregoire said. “Aerospace companies are looking for productivity, reliability, quality and training. We have all of that in Washington state – and this is our opportunity to market Washington, help our businesses grow and create jobs.”
This is Gregoire’s second visit to the Paris Air Show. In 2005, Gregoire led a similar delegation to Paris, where Washington reported $12.2 million in export sales, and six new aerospace investments in our state from Europe. Smaller Washington delegations to the 2007 and 2009 shows logged over $4.5 million in export sales.
Following Paris, Gregoire will lead the delegation to Hamburg, Germany where she will continue to promote the state’s aerospace supply companies while meeting with executives at Airbus. Gregoire is also coordinating meetings to connect some of our state’s automotive parts producers with German car companies, and will attend Life Sciences Day sponsored by BioRegioN, a life sciences cluster in Niedersachsen together with Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association.
“I am excited to lead another life science delegation with the Governor on her Trade Mission to France and Germany.” said, Chris Rivera, President of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association. “Last year’s trade mission to China has led directly to numerous conversations and was imperative to building the ongoing relationship that is developing between China’s life science organizations and Washington state’s. I am expecting this year’s trade mission will lead to numerous fruitful discussions which will support Washington’s growing life science industry.”
“Saint Martin’s University feels honored to participate in the Governor’s trade mission to Europe. The development of new study abroad opportunities for students is crucial for preparing a future workforce that is comfortable and effective in the global economy,” said Richard Beer, Dean at the Saint Martin’s University School of Business. “Europe, and France and Germany in particular, offer excellent educational institutions which align well with our own education system and therefore offer great opportunities for educational partnerships.”
“Enprecis is thrilled to participate in the Governor’s trade mission to Europe. For an emerging company like ours it would have been time-consuming and difficult to get the high level introductions to the top automotive manufacturers in France and Germany without the help of the Governor's office and the Washington State Department of Commerce,” said Richard Counihan, CEO of Enprecis, a data and analytics company supporting the automotive industry headquartered in Seattle. “We are meeting with the key decision makers with responsibility for global budgets in our area of expertise. We couldn't ask for more."
Gregoire has kicked-off an online journal that will include travel notes from the governor and the rest of the delegation as well as the itinerary. The site will also contain pictures from the trade mission. Gregoire is encouraging Washingtonians to follow along by following the link on her homepage: www.governor.wa.gov.