Gov. Jay Inslee is headed to China Thursday morning for a delayed trade mission — a day after the Boeing Machinists’ vote that threw the future of the state’s aerospace sector into doubt.
Inslee had postponed the scheduled start of the trip to wrap up the Boeing tax-break legislation he signed into law this week. He had originally planned to begin the trade mission Saturday with a stop in Tokyo.
This morning, Inslee was scheduled to fly to Shanghai to join a delegation of more than 100 business and educations leaders, according to the governor’s office. His itinerary includes events promoting Washington pears, Almond Roca candy, the wine industry and a roundtable discussion with Chinese clean-tech investment companies.
David Postman, Inslee’s communications director, said the governor will remain in discussions via phone and email with legislators, aerospace representatives and others in the wake of Wednesday night’s Machinists’ vote. During a news conference Wednesday night, Inslee vowed the state would compete strongly for Boeing’s new 777x line despite the contract rejection.
“He was torn about going, but feels he had an obligation to the people who planned their life for some time around this trip,” Postman said. “This is not a break. This is work and I think anybody who understands business in Washington state and the importance of trade in Washington understands the role the governor can play here.”
Delegates on the trade mission include several staffers from the state Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture, representatives of state fruit and grain growers, Port of Seattle officials and others seeking to expand Washington’s export business in Asia.
Inslee is set to return to Washington state Monday evening.