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Pollard, Knight join trade mission

They are part of delegation to Asia led by governor

By , Columbian Business Editor
Published: September 1, 2015, 5:09pm

Gov. Jay Inslee’s nine-day trade mission to Korea and Japan includes three Southwest Washington representatives who are attending portions of the visit as part of a 70-plus member delegation of Washington business and government officials.

Bob Knight, president of Clark College, and Royce Pollard, a former Vancouver mayor who is a trustee at the two-year college, are part of a delegation that is visiting Asia on the trade mission. Bill Chapman, CEO of Millennium Bulk Terminal in Longview, also is part of the Washington delegation.

The focus of the trade mission, launched on Aug. 28, is to promote Washington’s agriculture, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and technology sectors, the governor’s office said. A “Friendship Delegation” is also scheduled to visit Washington’s sister state of Hyogo in Japan.

Derek Sandison, director of the state Department of Agriculture, and Brian Bonlender, Commerce Department director, are with the governor on the trade mission.

Knight and Pollard joined the delegation this week in order to participate in meetings with Chihiro Kanagawa, CEO of the Japanese parent corporate of Vancouver-based SEH America, a longtime partner of the college, said Chato Hazelbaker, the college’s chief information officer. Inslee was to participate in one meeting with Kanagawa, Hazelbaker said. “They very specifically are talking about STEM (science, technology, engineeriing, and math) education,” he said. Their travels are being financed by private donations, he said.

In 2014, Japan was Washington’s third largest export market, with $7.4 billion in goods exports; South Korea ranked sixth at $2.8 billion, according to the governor’s office. Agriculture is a key player. Washington exported $1.6 billion in agricultural products to Japan last year and $469 million worth to South Korea.

The delegation was scheduled today to visit Nagoya, Japan, where delegates will tour the Mitsubishi Regional Jet assembly line. The airplane production facility has direct ties to Washington: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will test its new aircraft at the Moses Lake aircraft facility, operated by Seattle-based AeroTEC.

AeroTEC is investing $8 million in a new hangar at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake. The aircraft-testing deal will produce an expected 350 new engineering, aircraft mechanic and other administrative jobs in Moses Lake and at a new engineering center in Seattle, the governor’s office said.

The governor and delegates will then travel to Kobe, Japan where he will visit a disaster preparedness center to learn how Washington can better be prepared for a major earthquake and its aftermath.

The delegation will close with a visit to Tokyo for business and government meetings, followed by a Washington food and wine products fair at the Costco store in Makuhari, Tokyo. Issaquah-bassd Costco has 20 stores in Japan and three additional new stores will open there later this month.

Last week and early this week, the delegation visited Seoul, Korea, where Inslee addressed a technology conference and visited with business officials. The delegates also traveled to Gyeongnam Technopark Park and met with Korean aerospace industry suppliers and executives.