Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Off to India
Lt. Governor Owen and delegation to promote Washington state
After spending the past several days in China, Lt. Governor Brad Owen will leave from there later this week for India, where he will spend nine days with a delegation to seek new opportunities for the state of Washington overseas.
The lieutenant governor’s India mission is on the heels of a four-day visit to India by President Barack Obama.
“Although this mission has been in the planning stages for about two years, the timing of our visit is working out especially well,” said Owen. “U.S. – India relations will be a topic of worldwide focus, and we will be there specifically to promote India relations with the state of Washington."
Among the delegation’s stops to promote Washington will be the Indian International Trade Fair in New Delhi.
In China the lieutenant governor joined a delegation of about 70 from Seattle’s Chinese community for an international convention of the Soo Yuen Benevolent Association in the city of Taishan in China’s Guangdong Province (along China’s southern coast near Hong Kong). The lieutenant governor, an honorary member of the association’s Seattle chapter, was invited to be a dinner speaker at the convention. The association, which supports charitable and civic causes, celebrated its 100th year in Seattle earlier this year. While in China the lieutenant governor met with government officials and university leaders in Meizhou City.
In India the lieutenant governor will first visit Bhubaneswar, the capital of the India state of Orissa on the nation’s east coast. There he will meet up with the Washington delegation he is co-leading with U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, on behalf of the Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee (WASITRAC). McDermott and Owen were colleagues in the state Senate in the 1980s.
The delegation will visit the institutes of industrial technology and social sciences at KITT University; meet with Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, his cabinet and other top officials, and tour ports in the coastal state and make key business connections. They will be joined on the ports tour by Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani, who is interested in establishing formal ties between Seattle and ports in Orissa.
“India presents an enormous opportunity for expanded trade with Washington,” Lt. Governor Owen said. “India is the world’s largest free market democracy. Commercial investment opportunities are thriving there, and government policies make market entry and trade very easy. Moreover, India has not been affected by the financial crisis that has impacted the U.S. and much of the rest of the world.”
The lieutenant governor noted that trade between the U.S. and India is growing rapidly, up sharply over the past five years. Imports from India to the U.S. rose from $11.5 billion in 2003-04 to $20.7 billion in 2007- 08. India was the Washington's seventh top destination for exports in 2009, with $1.8 billion sent there from the state.
“Those numbers can no doubt be improved upon as India continues through an amazing period of growth,” the lieutenant governor said. “Our trade development mission to Orissa will open the doors to new and very exciting business, trade, education cultural opportunities in this key part of India.”
Neither mission is at taxpayer expense. He was not joined by staff on the China portion of his overseas mission, but will be joined by his director of international relations, Antonio Sanchez, in India. He is scheduled to return to Washington on Nov. 23.
Updates on the India portion of the mission will be posted on this blog.
Related:Washington State India Trade Relations Action Committee (WASITRAC)
Commerce Quarterly Trade Bulletin: Market Focus India (Washington Dept. of
Commerce, Sept. 2009)
India in the news:India's growth can lead to increased U.S. exports (U.S. Embassy
in New Delhi)
Perspective by Thomas L. Friedman in New York TimesExpanding India economy looks toward trade opportunities with U.S.,
Washington (The Seattle Times, April 23, 2009)