Tacoma celebrates third annual World Trade Center Association Day

The focus of the event is a panel discussion of April’s trade and goodwill mission to Taiwan and Thailand.

Stressing global peace and stability through international trade, the World Trade Center Tacoma on Thursday celebrated the third annual World Trade Center Association Day.

Recognized by World Trade Center Associations around the world, World Trade Center Association Day was created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to reaffirm peace through trade and commerce.

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen joined state Sen. Dan Swecker (R-20th District), state Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen (D-2nd District) and Port of Tacoma maintenance director Lou Paulsen in a panel debriefing to discuss the WTC Tacoma’s April trade mission to Taiwan and Thailand. WTC Tacoma Executive Director Andreas Udbye and Juliette Kelly from the office of the lieutenant governor served as moderators.

Owen led a 25-member delegation of experienced business people and legislators to the two Far East nations from April 15 to April 25.

Noting Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation, Owen called this an opportunity to “reap rewards from the visit.”

It’s very important, he said, to nurture trade relations around the world.

“So, I was very pleased with it,” Owen told those gathered for the luncheon event hosted at the Tacoma Club on the 16th floor of the Wells Fargo Plaza.

“This was a very rewarding experience for me,” Swecker said, “both in terms of culture and economic opportunity.”

Swecker said he gained a sense of international perspective when it comes to trade opportunities for Washington state.

With Taiwan now focused on the “next big thing,” developing their biotechnology, optoelectronics and nanotechnology sectors and China as a huge potential market, Washington state is well-positioned to take advantage of that
“We have a unique opportunity,” Swecker said.

Rasmussen noted the trip showed her how interconnected we all are on this planet.

“It is a very small world,” she said.

Paulsen commented on the Port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, one of the largest container ports in the world. Four times the number of containers move through the Port of Kaohsiung as through the Port of Tacoma, he pointed out.

Winners of the World Trade Center Association Day essay and art contest for Pierce County were recognized at the event as well.

Aaron Willows of Covenant High School was the winner in the essay division. Stadium High School students Fumiko Abe, Valeria Atwood, Joel Brown, Chelsea Dunevent, Lee Gov, Erika Hollandworth, Kiel Jewett and Thu-Thao Lam were the winners in the art division.

Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commissioner, briefly discussed the Tall Ships Festival coming to Tacoma in summer 2005 and the economic impact that will have on the city.

Columbia Bank sponsored this year’s event.

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