Mayor Ed Murray participated in a trade and cultural mission to China and Japan this month. The mission was part of an ongoing effort to encourage more foreign direct investment in Seattle, expand economic opportunities for local companies, and establish international partnerships. Murray joined the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Washington State China Relations Council, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the University of Washington, and other local business on this trade mission to promote Seattle as a global hub for trade and innovation.
Seattle has deep cultural connections to China and Japan, and is home to thriving Chinese and Japanese communities. This trade and cultural mission reaffirms Seattle’s commitment to expanding economic opportunity and continuing cultural and educational exchanges between our countries.
Highlights from China:
- Seattle and the City of Hangzhou signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support the promotion of technology and innovation, e-commerce, trade, economic development and life sciences. At this ceremony, Amazon China also signed an MOU with Hangzhou that will promote new opportunities for Seattle-based e-commerce companies in China.
- Mayor Murray announced the signing of an MOU to support biomedical research and the establishment of a joint institute between the University of Washington School of Medicine and Shenzhen-based BGI, one of the world’s largest genomics organizations.
- Mayor Murray joined Xiamen Airlines in announcing new non-stop service from Shenzhen to Seattle starting in September 2016. This new service is the result of work by the City and Port of Seattle to increase travel between the two economic hubs.
- China’s largest residential property developer, China Vanke, announced that it will invest in a residential tower in Seattle’s downtown. This is the company’s first investment in Washington state.
Highlights from Japan
- Mayor Murray spoke to more than 200 Japanese business leaders to promote investment and trade in Seattle at an event hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.
- Mayor Murray committed to stronger business partnerships with Keidanren, Japan’s largest and most influential economic organization, and the Japan Association of Travel Agents.
- Mayor Murray joined Starbucks Japan CEO Jun Sekine and Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto to announce the opening of a flagship Starbucks store in Kobe’s Meriken Park. The new flagship store commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Kobe-Seattle Sister City relationship and the 50th anniversary of the Kobe-Seattle Sister Port relationship.
- Mayor Murray visited Kobe’s Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution to discuss emergency preparedness and earthquake-grade building codes.
- Mayor Murray and the First Gentleman met with Ms. Kanako Otsuji, Japan’s first and only openly gay member of the House of Councilors of the National Diet, and Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe, who led the passage of “partnership certificates” as a means to recognize same-sex marriage, to discuss LGBTQ rights and issues.
Photos from Mayor Murray’s trip available here.