Gov. Chris Gregoire just wrapped up a trade mission in India, and is now in South Korea to talk up Washington’s agriculture products. I interviewed her from South Korea today using one of our mobile video units that her staff brought along on the trip.
Gregoire said the 10-day trade mission may have “the greatest potential of all the trade missions I’ve done.” She’s been meeting with business leaders, and said two unnamed companies in India are considering locating in Washington. The move is “very promising” and could bring a couple hundred jobs, she said.
In South Korea, she’s focused on promoting Washington’s agriculture products and will be serving french fries at a local Costco and Popeye’s restaurant. “We really want to break this market for our french fries,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”
She pointed to cherries as an example of what could happen with Washington’s potatoes. In March, the U.S. signed the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. Tariffs on cherries dropped from 24 percent to zero, and exports of Washington cherries to South Korea skyrocketed 86 percent.
“That’s the kind of opportunity we’re seeing in South Korea here,” Gregoire said. She’s also touting Washington wines in Asia, which have a “huge opportunity with a growing class of folks who really enjoy fine wine.”