Gov. Chris Gregoire today welcomed U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to the Port of Tacoma where the two discussed ways to expand trading opportunities.
"As Secretary Geithner works with the Obama Administration to significantly increase American exports, it's only natural he comes to Washington state," Gregoire said. "We are the most trade dependent state in the nation, and on a per-capita basis, the number one exporter in the United States. While our state is already familiar with global trade, we have the potential, and the need, to expand. Increasing our exports means new jobs for Washingtonians -- from design work, to manufacturing to shipping."
"Growing exports is critical to growing the economy," said Secretary Geithner. "Our job as the government is to create the conditions for American business to excel. Our job is to help American businesses invest and grow. Our job is to help Americans get back to work."
Geithner is working closely on President Obama's National Export Initiative, the president's bold plan to double American exports over the next five years. He's in Washington state to learn more about the impact trade has on the state's economy before he travels to China later this week for the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
"As the gateway to foreign markets for American-made goods, ports sustain jobs throughout the nation," said Port of Tacoma Commission President Don Johnson. "We appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate how the Port of Tacoma supports the National Export Initiative through its connections to Asia."
Following a tour of the Port of Tacoma, Gregoire and Geithner met with several community bankers to discuss the new federal Small Business Lending Fund, as well as ongoing concerns about access to capital.
"I have personally spoken with Secretary Geithner about the concerns of Washington's community banks, and I want to thank him for taking the time today to meet with our local bankers," Gregoire said. "Economic recovery won't be real for our citizens until it's happening for small and medium-sized businesses. And on Main Street they rely on credit from local banks. When local banks can't lend, small businesses can't stock their shelves, buy the equipment they need or hire more people."