Yesterday marked the last day of the trade mission and what a successful, busy day it was! We started the day at the Korean International Trade Association where we signed another life sciences MoU with KITA and the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association. I was then proud to put on the Washington State Potato Commission’s apron and hand out Washington potato French fries at Popeye’s in Seoul! Our day also included meetings at the Samsung headquarters and meetings with members of the government. Overall, it was a very successful trade mission for members of our delegation and for Washington state. Enjoy our photos!
Being a software person by background, I am prone to thinking in version numbers. Following my time in India, I have the sense that we are on the cusp of transitioning from US-India version 1.0 to version 2.0.
Version 1.0 seems to have been characterized by U.S. companies moving work to lower cost Indian locations and, at the same time, the most talented Indian professionals immigrating to the U.S. to achieve their potential and make many of our companies and institutions more successful in the process. This 1.0 version has benefited both countries, but it has been a fairly narrow in scope of engagement and driven more by transactions than relationships.
Now, driven by India development and continuous improvements in technology, things are changing. Indian immigrants to the U.S. are returning to their home country. I recently caught up with a former colleague from Microsoft who has been back in India for nearly three years now. He’s working at an e-learning start-up.
Business deals are becoming much more nuanced than before – we are not only outsourcing work or exporting a product or service. SightLife’s partnership with the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute is a perfect example of this deeper, more sophisticated partnership. Both organizations benefit from the relationship, but it’s not easily characterized by our traditional taxonomy (export, import, outsource, etc).
Companies on both sides are also making substantial investments in the other country. Microsoft’s buildings in Hyderabad look like they could have been teleported from the Redmond campus – and Jubilant has grown employment at their HollisterStier site in Spokane by several hundred employees since they acquired it a few years ago.
In the software business of the 1990’s, it seemed that you had to get to version 3.0 to really get it right- but what’s happening now between this country and our state looks pretty darn good to me.
I join this mission as a Bellevue-based international trade lawyer that serves businesses wishing to enter the India market. There are so many exciting opportunities here, but there are also significant complications and potential barriers to success. This mission has been a valuable experience in learning more about how to navigate this complex Indian system, as well as help facilitate new partnerships between Washington and Indian firms.
But I’m also traveling in another capacity — as a delegate of the Washington State Bar Association International Practice section. During our time in Delhi, I visited the Supreme Court Bar of India to launch friendship discussions. At one point, 50 members of the Supreme Court Bar were peppering me with questions about American jurisprudence and the level of corruption in our legal system. The discussion was fascinating and made me proud to be part of legal system in which corruption is exceedingly rare.
I ‘m hopeful that the talks will lead to a Memorandum of Understanding that could include exchanges of information and joint programs between our two communities. In the next several weeks, the WSBA International Practice section will negotiate the terms of the potential MOU with the Supreme Court Bar of India, and will submit the proposed MOU to the WSBA Board of Governors for approval.
The attorneys of our state support the businesses of our state. We facilitate transactions and relationships. We negotiate deals and when necessary, we prosecute or defend. I strongly believe that international business works better when international bars collaborate. The governor’s trade mission to India is creating real business opportunities for Washington businesses. To support that, we need better knowledge of and cooperation with the Supreme Court Bar of India.
Today was another busy, successful day!
I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association and the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises. I also visited Jubilant Life Sciences – a company that’s based in Spokane with many locations around the world. Finally, a photo of the modern, Delhi skyline. Enjoy!
Just a couple of photos from today’s events! We arrived in Delhi where I spoke to our delegates and potential investors at the Washington – India Investment roundtable. I also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Intent between our state’s Department of Commerce and the Confederation of Indian Industries. This was signed to help promote and facilitate foreign direct investment between India and Washington state!
We had an early wake-up call this morning- and made our way to Delhi! I’ll certainly have more on our time here soon – in the meantime, I can’t underscore how important our agreement with Andhra Pradesh is. In fact, leaders in AP called it a momentous occasion! Below is an excerpt of the remarks delivered by U.S. Consul General Katherine Dhanani at the event!
“I’m so pleased to be here tonight to mark the deepening of the relationship between the states of Washington and Andhra Pradesh. I think the joint commitment of these two great states to closer collaboration makes sense on many levels, and offers the citizens of both states tremendous opportunities for collaboration and exchange. I also think the momentum at the level of our states is one of the keys to successful partnership at the national level….
…When President Obama visited India in November 2010, he referred to the relationship between India and the United States as “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” The relationship is critically important for the future for a number of reasons. First, the recent reevaluation of the United States’ global priorities resulted in a shift toward the Asia-Pacific region at the same time as India’s is expanding its leadership in the region. Second, our economies are increasingly interdependent as both our countries seek out opportunities beyond our borders that will generate jobs and income in the future. And thirdly, we are increasingly focused on global issues and global challenges, like the challenge of violent extremism, which can only be addressed if we act together.
All these shared interests make it easy to see how important it is for India and the U.S. to be partners….
….The opening of a new consulate in Hyderabad in 2008 was both a sign of the vitality of these people-to-people ties and a new tool to strengthen them. Building, fostering and facilitating these ties is the common thread that links together all the activities we undertake out of the beautiful Paigah Palace. The first U.S. Consul General in Hyderabad, Cornelius Keur, was a Washington State native. As he thought about what he could do to carry out this mandate, he saw tremendous potential in a stronger relationship between Washington State and Andhra Pradesh. His enthusiasm was shared by a dynamic group of partners, including Speaker Manohar and many of the business leaders here tonight, who visited Washington and whose continued commitment to this relationship has borne fruit with this visit.
When I met CG Keur in Washington before coming out here, I asked him what he considered to be the most important unfinished business of his tenure. He told me about the sister state initiative and urged me to support it vigorously.
So tonight, as the Governor of Washington and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh affirm the commitment of these two great states to enhance their collaboration and partnership, they will also be bolstering the foundation that supports the tremendously important and continuously expanding U.S. – India relationship.
This is a momentous occasion. Thank you.”
I am continuously amazed at the similarities between our state and the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh! We both have strong, vested interests in agriculture, aerospace, IT, life sciences, education and our community colleges.
Earlier in the day I helped open a new corneal tissue cutting center at the L.V. Prassad Eye Institute. This opening was made possible by SightLife, a Seattle based government health organization focusing on eliminating corneal blindness in adults and children and a very generous donation from a Washington state company. After the ribbon-cutting I met with corneal transplant physicians and delivered Seattle Sounders soccer balls and scarves to some of the youngest patients. The opportunities for partnerships between AP and our state especially in life sciences are limitless.
This will be the third year in a row that I have led a life science delegation on a trade mission with Governor Gregoire and I am looking forward to it. Both of the previous trade missions have led directly to collaborations, ongoing conversation or increased communication between Washington’s life science organizations and like organizations from China, France and Germany. I am expecting nothing less from our trip to India and South Korea.
Washington’s life sciences sector is one of Washington’s largest and fastest growing job sectors. with a presence in nearly 70 different cities statewide, adding $10.4 billion to our state’s GDP and $6.6 billion in personal income to our local economy. This trip should provide an opportunity for our companies and research organizations to make inroads into some of the world’s fastest growing health care markets, which are also investing billions of dollars into biotech and biomedical research, development and commercialization.
The itinerary is extremely busy and should prove to be very productive. In addition to our organization, the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, I am also very excited that I will be joined by no less than 13 of our member organizations throughout the trip. We have a couple of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU’s) to sign with “sister” trade associations in India and Korea. One with the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) in India and the other with the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) in Seoul. These MOU’s are the cornerstone of working with organizations around the world that can provide access and relationships for our members to engage potential partners from their associations.
The delegation will also be visiting several life science clusters, like “Genome Valley”, as well as participating in several industry CEO roundtable discussions, aimed at increasing collaboration, as well as trade and investment in Washington state life science organizations.
Our delegation is quite diverse, with representation from local companies and non-profit research organizations that already have ties with India like; Halosource, Jubilant Hollister-Stier, Sightlife and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to name a few, to companies looking to begin the development of relationships with potential partners and investors in India and Korea.
We all look forward to returning home and hosting future meetings with our newly found colleagues that will help to continue to grow one of Washington’s economies of the future.
Excitement is mixed with a little anxiety for me as we gear up for the Governor’s last trade mission. I’m excited because of the ground-breaking nature of our Governor’s trip – she’ll be the first Washington Governor to visit India and the first to visit Korea since the Free Trade Agreement between the countries went into effect. I’m also excited to see Korea for the first time and to see how the India that I first visited over 17 years ago has changed.
I’m anxious because India particularly is a logistically challenging country to visit – it’s 19 hours of flying to get there! And because of potential exposure to different diseases than we’re exposed to here, we’ve had a host of shots and pills to take to ensure we remain healthy during and after the visit, and even those are no guarantee.
Challenges aside, for both countries, this trip is a huge opportunity to acknowledge the connections we already have and set the stage for more. Thousands of Indian students are enrolled in our colleges and universities. The Gates Foundation, PATH and many other Washington organizations involved in global health and development do extensive work with India. And Boeing recently increased their commercial aircraft forecast for India from 1,320 planes worth an estimated $150 billion to 1,450 planes through the year 2031 worth $175 billion.
I’m also excited to visit Korea, an economic powerhouse that lines up extremely well with Washington’s economy. Korea’s largest companies are leaders in shipping, energy and mobile technology, just to name a few.
Overall, I cannot think of a more important economic growth strategy for our state than increasing the global engagement of our companies. So, in the end, excitement overwhelms anxiety and I’m looking very forward to getting out there and helping our companies and other partners bring home some business and jobs!
Washington agriculture continues to feed the world. With $8.6 billion in Washington-origin food and agriculture exports, our producers are among the nation’s leaders in the global marketplace. The future of food exports is looking bright and the quality of our produce is second to none.
With India’s growing middle class and this year’s new U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the timing of Gov. Gregoire’s trade mission couldn’t be better. India is already our biggest market for the Palouse’s dried peas, lentils and chickpeas. India imports more apples from Washington than from any other growing region in the world. Korea continues to be a top ten destination of Washington foods, and with Korean import duties on their way to zero, export growth is sure to follow.
On this mission, we will market Washington foods wherever we go. We will serve delicious traditional samosas in New Delhi made from Washington chickpeas and potatoes – paired with Washington wines, of course. We’ll visit a Costco in Seoul to highlight the dozens of Washington foods that Korean shoppers love. And we’ll talk to government leaders in both countries about further reducing import duties and non-tariff barriers to our commodities.
While a governor’s mission is certainly our highest-profile event, WSDA’s International Marketing Program has a track record of success built on in-bound trade missions and training for businesses. Last year, we helped Washington firms make $94 million in overseas sales. Now we’ve launched an expanded export development effort that will prepare dozens of Washington companies to reap rewards through international sales. It’s another strategy to support an agricultural industry that continues to thrive during challenging economic times.