Gov. Chris Gregoire today touted the importance of commerce and trade at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) in Mumbai, and met privately with senior executives of several large firms during her last major stop in India before heading to Seoul, South Korea.
"Like India, Washington is a place where innovation is part of our culture," said Gregoire. "Today, we have many world-wide business icons who call our state home - Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks just to name a few. Washington benefits from international trade more than any other state -- at least one in three jobs in Washington are created by trade either directly or indirectly."
Gregoire and members of the delegation promoted the many advantages of doing business and investing in Washington and Washington companies at the FICCI seminar. Established in 1927, the group is the largest and oldest apex business association in India, drawing more than 250,000 private and public sector members through regional chambers of commerce. Companies attending the seminar are primarily active in the information and communication technology and life sciences sector.
Seattle-based Pacific Biomarkers, a 23-year old provider of clinical trial lab services for major pharmaceutical and biotech companies, is connecting with potential business partners and customers during the seminar and throughout the mission.
"We see a great collaborative opportunity in India. This is a significant biosimulars market with an increasing demand for robust clinical biomarkers. Pacific Biomarkers is well suited and experienced to work within the Indian marketplace," said Michael Murphy, PhD, chief operating officer for Pacific Biomarkers, noting a major boom in clinical trials in the region.
"I may have been the first Washington state governor to travel to India, but I am sure I won't be the last," said Gregoire. "Many U.S. states talk about international trade. Washingtonians are actively pursuing opportunities in the global marketplace and have been for a hundred years. Exporting has been a bright spot in our state economy even through the recession. More than 1,000 new-to-export companies have been assisted through Commerce, WSDA and the Community Economic Revitalization Board training programs. We have seen record results from these efforts and continue to experience progress on my Washington Export Initiative goal to increase the number of our companies exporting by 30 percent by 2015."
Gregoire and Commerce Director Rogers Weed also met privately with senior executives from several companies while in Mumbai, including India's largest technology firm, which has a branch in Redmond, WA, two other global IT companies and one of the world's largest multinational conglomerates with interests in banking and finance, transportation, and energy as well as technology, media and telecommunications.
Additionally, Gregoire met with Prakash Hinduja of the Hinduja Group of Companies, a major Indian conglomerate involved in transportation equipment, banking, business services and a host of other activities. Hinduja is exploring the development of a business processing, customer service and data analysis center, and has expressed interest in possibly building this center in Eastern Washington. Weed and the Washington State Department of Commerce will continue to discuss the potential investment with the company.
Gregoire also sat down with Tata Sons Limited and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Tata Group is one of India's largest multinationals, with operations in more than 80 countries across six continents encompassing seven business sectors: communications and information technology, engineering, materials, services, energy, consumer products and chemicals. TCS, which currently employs 600 people in Redmond, WA, is the largest technology firm in India and one of the top ten technology firms in the world. The company employs over 230,000 staff in 42 countries and is rapidly expanding in the United States.
Tomorrow, Gregoire will travel to Seoul, South Korea where she is visiting at the request of Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and will continue to build upon the ties that Washington maintains in the country. She and her delegation will visit a Costco and Popeye's location to promote French fries and other Washington-grown foods.
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.