Gov. Chris Gregoire arrived in Hyderabad, India, launching a 10-day trade mission to promote Washington products and companies, increase foreign investment, and create new job opportunities for Washington state.
"India presents exciting new possibilities for Washington state, and I am proud to be the first governor from Washington state to lead a trade delegation to this nation," Gregoire said. "We have our work cut out for us. We know that businesses and consumers in India's growing middle class of 300 million represent a huge potential market for our goods and services. Through our face-to-face meetings over the next several days, we will gain a competitive foothold, setting the stage for business opportunities and job growth for Washington state companies."
Shortly after arriving in India, Gregoire and the delegation met with leaders of the nation's film industry to promote Washington as a backdrop for Indian film producers, and discussed investment opportunities for growing agriculture exports with leaders from India's agricultural sector.
Gregoire today also met with senior officials of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to discuss the establishment of an official relationship that will facilitate trade and investment opportunities between Andhra Pradesh and Washington state. Andhra Pradesh is the home to the largest Microsoft presence in India, as well as numerous aerospace and life sciences companies. The state is also a leading agricultural state and home to India's third largest seaport.
Among other goals for mutually beneficial cooperation, Gregoire hopes to establish a direct flight from Seattle to Hyderabad, which could be serviced by one of Air India's Boeing 787s.
Earlier in the day, Gregoire and delegates representing Washington's energy, life sciences and education industries met with GVK Group, one of India's leading conglomerates with diversified interests across numerous industry sectors. Officials discussed near and longer-term opportunities for trade and investment in Washington state. Meetings showcased the particular strengths of Washington state including our ports and trade infrastructure, low-cost hydropower, highly-skilled workforce, beneficial business climate and our innovative companies in growing sectors such as clean energy, biotech and biomedical manufacturing, and information and communication technology.
Gregoire and the delegation arrived in India on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, an Indian national holiday. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in Western India and over time became a champion of the non-violent independent movement in India that greatly inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Gregoire and members of her delegation paid their respects to Gandhi by laying a wreath at Gandhi's statue and gave brief remarks on the occasion in Hyderabad.
Tomorrow, Gregoire and the delegation will attend a ribbon-cutting for a new corneal tissue cutting center at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute operated in partnership with SightLife, a Seattle-based global health organization and the world's leading eye bank. The governor and delegation will also tour the Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City (HITEC City), one of the largest information technology parks in India offering world class IT infrastructure by dozens of companies, including Microsoft and Amazon.
Visit Gregoire's online travel journal that includes travel notes from the governor and the rest of the delegation, the itinerary and photos of the trade mission. Access the travel journal by following the link on her homepage.