Today, the Lt. Governor welcomed business leaders and dignitaries visiting from China for the China Provinces-Washington State Investment and Trade Cooperation Forum, which this year hosted a record number of participants.
With attendees including Luo Linquan, Consul General of China in San Francisco, Sun Chenghai, Director of the Trade Development Bureau of Ministry of Commerce, Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, and distinguished representatives of the China Provincial Department of Commerce, Thursday’s trade forum represented a significant opportunity to deepen international trade relations, and identify opportunities for direct investment.
China is by far the largest consumer of Washington state exports, importing significantly from Washington’s aerospace, agriculture, and seafood industries.
In his remarks, the Lt. Governor emphasized the power of subnational trade amid isolationist national rhetoric, and highlighted the particular connections between Washington state and China.
In particular, the Lt. Governor identified three priorities shared by both China and Washington state: economic cooperation, collaboration in higher education, and the importance of cultural exchange.
On economic cooperation, the Lt. Governor pointed to the mutual willingness of Washington and China to expand trade, to offer to the other its economic strengths, and to welcome healthy competition. “We love that Ali Baba made Seattle its home,” the Lt Governor said, naming the China-based company among other Washington-based ones, like Amazon, Boeing, and Blue Origin, that have contributed significantly to Washington’s economy.
In part, the Lt. Governor said, “we embrace healthy competition because we have made investments in higher education,” citing the high average education attainment levels in Washington state. He noted that Washington state was proud that one of China’s most prestigious universities chose Bellevue, Washington, as the site for the new Tsingua University, an international institution focused on technology and innovation.
Finally, the Lt. Governor concluded, while economic prosperity and academic achievement are shared values by both China and Washington, the true priority is quality of life. “We don’t live to make money, and we don’t live to get degrees,” the Lt. Governor said. “We live to make a better quality of life for ourselves, and for our descendants, and to create a future that is peaceful.”