Governor's trade mission important to state
The Seattle Times editorial board wishes Gov. Chris Gregoire success on her trade mission to Ireland and the U.K., including the Farnborough International Airshow.
Seattle Times Editorial
WE wish Gov. Chris Gregoire success on her trade mission to the British Isles. No doubt some folks will persist in dismissing such trips as junkets. In fact, they are important to the people of Washington.
The trip's focus is the annual air show, held this year at Farnborough, England. In aerospace, everyone who is anyone is there; to be an aerospace-component CEO is to be one ant on the hill. Having a governor along changes that. It opens doors for participating companies here.
That includes doors at Airbus Industrie, Boeing's rival. People here may think of Airbus as the enemy, but if you are one of 720 aerospace suppliers in Washington, Airbus is a potential customer — and a big one. One of Gregoire's tasks is to take Washington executives to talk to executives of the European aerospace giant.
Another of her tasks is to tell foreign companies that Washington is a good place to invest. Why? Because other states have officials touting their advantages, which may include subsidies. Washington has forbidden itself to offer those, which is all the more reason to have a governor, accompanied by successful business people, to tell investors in person that Washington wants their investments.
Furthermore, every aerospace executive there will have heard about Boeing placing its second 787 line in South Carolina. For Washington not to go to Farnborough would be to say it no longer cares.
The trip is mostly about aerospace, but not entirely. Among other things, Gregoire has stopped in Ireland to check out the manufacturing plant of OpenHydro, a company selected by Snohomish County PUD to design, build and install two tidal-energy turbines in Puget Sound.
Gregoire's trip is not all tankards of Guinness and plates of bangers and mash. It is more like wall-to-wall meetings. Good luck on those.