Gregoire touts Wash. exports at Shanghai World Expo

Gov. Chris Gregoire put the state of Washington on the world stage while discussing the benefits of doing business in our state at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

“Washington state is where good ideas become great companies, and where great companies develop even more good ideas,” Gregoire said, while speaking at the Washington Day Business Forum at the World Expo, a business forum highlighting the attractiveness of Washington state attended by Shanghai area business leaders. “Whether it’s in reinventing how the world travels, defining what computer technology can do for business, or reimagining how we can power our homes, Washington people and businesses believe in new possibilities,” Gregoire said. “We are here today to say, we are open for business. We look forward to new exchanges, greater investments and improved relationships with our partners in Shanghai and across the world.”

Gregoire used the opportunity to highlight the state’s innovation and leadership in clean energy as both China and Vietnam look to expand its use of clean and renewable energy sources.

Along with the trade delegation, Gregoire also spent time in a Shanghai department store promoting Washington frozen potato products and Brown and Haley’s Almond Roca. Chinese consumption of potatoes has more than doubled in the last 20 years, while sales of Almond Roca candy in China has doubled in the last five years.

After traveling to Vietnam over the weekend, Gregoire on Monday continued to promote Washington products in Hanoi, handing out Washington state French fries to customers at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken.

“Asia’s large population and explosive economic growth make it a key strategic market for our food exports in the coming years,” said Jared Balcom, Washington State Potato Commissioner. “Washington’s famous French fries are already extremely popular in China and Vietnam, and beginning this summer, Vietnam has opened the door to our fresh potatoes. The timing of this governor’s mission is perfect for us. As we meet with retailers here in Vietnam, we’re developing the contacts that will lead to significant sales of fresh potatoes in the coming months.”

On Monday, Gregoire also met with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to discuss the trade mission and opportunities for economic growth for both Washington state and Vietnam. The governor also met with a group of Vietnamese students, highlighting the 18 Washington education institutions that have created exchange programs with Vietnam.

For more information on the governor’s trade mission to Asia, visit .