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!