Gov. Chris Gregoire today, while continuing her trade mission in India and Korea, attended the "Global Health and Life Science" seminar, where she witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association and India's Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, a national forum that represents the Indian biotechnology sector.
"Washington state has always promoted technology innovation and biotechnology has been one of our areas of focus for research and development," Gregoire said. "This exciting partnership between WBBA and ABLE will spur progress in this sector in India and Washington, growing jobs in both regions. We know that this collaboration, over time, will pay dividends in improved public health and economic development."
The MOU provides opportunities for WBBA and ABLE member companies to cooperate and invest in both regions to facilitate discoveries for better healthcare solutions. Joint or individual activities between the two organizations may involve current and future collaborations on technical knowledge, market research, investment and business partnering in the field of biotechnology.
"We see India as the growth engine of tomorrow and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This collaboration with ABLE in India is significant to WBBA to facilitate best of research in biotechnology from both the countries," said Chris Rivera, President of WBBA.
Gregoire today also met with Jubilant Life Sciences, a world-leader in the research, development and manufacturing of complex medicines based in Spokane with locations around the world, to discuss possible expansion opportunities. Jubilant currently employs 600 workers in Spokane, and has experienced strong growth over the past few years.
"This trade mission offers a great opportunity to share with a larger audience our valuable interests in Washington state," said Marcelo Morales, CEO of Jubilant HollisterStier in Spokane. "The products and services we supply to the global pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical markets are growing year on year and quickly gaining market share in a highly competitive industry. We are proud of our organization and look forward to working with delegates during this trip to explore ways in which we can mutually benefit our companies, our communities and the state."
"Jubilant has an incredible story, and is a testament to the innovation found in Washington state," Gregoire said. "This company started with just two practitioners, and now employs hundreds of people who are working to develop new medicines to help people around the world. This is obviously a company with huge possibilities and even greater potential. This was a great meeting to ensure executives at Jubilant understand the value of expanding in Washington state."
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.
Gregoire today also met with India's Minister of Human Resource Development, along with the three Washington state community college representatives. The Ministry plans to open an additional 200 colleges across India during the next academic term. The minister and the governor agreed to set up a group, three from each side, to develop collaboration on the expansion of the Indian community college system, which aims to more than double its capacity to 45 million students by 2030. India hopes to use Washington state's expertise to develop or improve national standards for teacher training, curriculum development and evaluation.
"We want to contribute to the development of the Indian educational system," said Visakan Ganeson, Executive Director of International Education at Everett Community College. "We in Washington have one of the finest community and technical college systems in the country. We know that collaboration with India will lead to more cultural and educational exchange that will benefit colleges in both nations."
Gregoire and the delegation continued discussions to urge Indian officials to consider reducing tariffs on Washington state agricultural products including apples, cherries, pears, potatoes and wine.
"If tariffs were reduced on fruits and vegetables, this would open huge doors for Washington growers and producers," Gregoire said. "At the same time, lower taxes and tariffs would help reduce the rising cost of food for Indian families. We understand the sensitivity of this issue as the agricultural industry provides work for almost two-thirds of India's population. We are very appreciative of the Indian government's consideration on this matter."
In 2011, India became the apple industry's third largest foreign market for Washington apple growers and producers with exports reaching $81 million. In addition to an emerging market demand for apples, peas, lentils and chickpeas are also an expanding market that has immense potential in the years to come.
On Monday Gregoire will travel to Mumbai where she will focus on commerce and trade at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry conference. Mumbai will be the governor's last stop in India before she departs for South Korea.
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.