Murray to promote trade in China and Japan

Mayor Ed Murray will join Seattle business executives, economic development officials, and academic leaders on a 5-day trade delegation to China this month. He will then visit Japan for three days to strengthen strategic business and cultural ties. The mission is part of an ongoing effort to encourage more foreign direct investment in Seattle, expand economic opportunities for local companies, and establish international partnerships.

“Seattle is a global hub of trade and innovation, but our continued success will depend on creating and expanding business relationships with companies and investors in Asia and elsewhere,” Murray said. “Through stronger partnerships with our international peer cities, we can help each foster new advancements in technology and sustainability and create new opportunities for growth.”

Murray will join the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the Washington State China Relations Council, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Microsoft, Vulcan, and the University of Washington, and others, on visits to Hong Kong and Shenzhen before leading a separate group of e-commerce companies to the City of Hangzhou.

“We’re pleased to have Mayor Murray join the Chamber in leading the delegation, as his participation uniquely opens doors for everyone on the trip,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.  “Our visit has attracted the attention of several significant Chinese companies, creating remarkable business development opportunities for local businesses in a variety of industries, from life sciences to real estate to tourism. We look forward to fostering stronger, deeper relationships with our Chinese counterparts to better our region’s economy, and are hopeful that we will be reporting on tangible new business connections between Seattle and China.”

The delegation will meet with the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, followed by meetings with local government and trade officials. The delegation then will travel to Shenzhen and Hangzhou. Shenzhen is coastal city of over 10 million people and is considered the high-tech hub and electronic manufacturing center of China. Hangzhou is home to seven million people and world headquarters of e-commerce company Alibaba.

In Japan, Murray will promote business development in the biomedical and manufacturing sectors with local leaders, and promote exchanges on LBGTQ rights and environmental stewardship. His first stop will be in Kobe, Seattle’s Sister City since 1957, followed by a visit to Tokyo.

For most of its history, Seattle has had deep cultural connections to China and Japan, with sizeable immigrant populations from the two nations and continuing cultural and educational exchanges. Throughout the trip, Murray will seek to deepen those ties as he meets with local officials and arts and cultural leaders in both nations.

There is no cost to the City for the mayor’s travel.

Highlights of the trip include:

  • May 9 — Hong Kong, China
    • Presentation of Hong Kong Sustainability Program with Under Secretary for Environment Christine Loh. Murray will share his Equity and the Environment Initiative and present Seattle’s vision for sustainable development.
  • May 10-12 — Shenzhen, China
    • Tour BGI (Beijing Genomics Institute) and meet with Dr. Wang Jian, BGI president and founder, and former research fellow at the University of Washington, and discuss new partnerships in biotech and health care technology.
    • Seattle Day Forum, with Mayor speaking with business, trade and government officials about new or expanding relationships with Seattle firms.
    • Visit leaders of Shenzhen’s electrified transportation system in support of the Mayor’s Drive Clean Seattle initiative.
  • May 13 — Hangzhou, China
    • Tour of Alibaba campus, networking and relationship building with leading Seattle e-commerce companies, including Amazon, Blue Nile and Costco.
    • Seattle Day Forum, meetings with investors interested in establishing relationships with Seattle companies.
  • May 15-16 — Kobe, Japan (Seattle’s Sister city)
    • Visit with Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto and the Kobe-Seattle Sister City Association, which will commemorate its 60th anniversary in 2017.
    • Meetings with Kobe Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote strategic business opportunities and visit to a ShinMaywa factory that produces parts for Boeing.
    • Visits with officials to exchange best practices on emergency management. Kobe experienced a major earthquake in 1995.
    • Matsuri Festival, where Murray will be the guest of honor in Kobe’s largest parade with more than 500,000 spectators.
  • May 17 — Tokyo, Japan
    • Meetings with Keidanren, the Japanese Business Federation; and the Japan Association of Travel Agents, representing all major tour operators in Japan, to deepen economic ties between Japan and Seattle.
    • Visit with Ken Hasebe, Mayor of Shibuya, the first ward of Japan to officially recognize same-sex marriage.
    • Reception hosted by U.S. Embassy Tokyo to promote digital economy collaboration between Japan and Seattle.