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Mission keeps the trade peace with Taiwan
By ERICA HALL
State Sen. Tracey Eide of Federal Way is home from a recent trade mission to Taiwan.
Serving as the ranking official from Washington, she joined several local officials as well as a delegation from Montana last week to visit Taiwan Nov. 6-11 and meet dignitaries of its government, which paid for the trip.
It was her first trip out of the country as a senator, and one she said was important to maintaining a positive relationship between Washington and China.
Washington is one of the most trade-dependent states in the nation, she said. Between the two of us (Taiwan and Washington), we do about $6 billion worth of trade.
Eide, a Democrat, serves on the Senate International Trade and Economic Development Committee. She also is the Majority Floor Leader in the Senate.
Eide said the trip was mostly a goodwill venture intended to introduce dignitaries who didnt formerly know each other and to nurture the relationship between two trading partners. Taiwan is Washingtons third-largest export partner.
They wanted to make sure I saw what theyre doing with their trade, she said. Were pretty high up with Taiwan with our trade.
Washington exports to Taiwan include electronics, fruit, oil seeds, paper, aerospace parts, textiles and cereal. The number one thing was flour, Eide said. They like our flour because its such high quality.
There are several large local businesses that enjoy a healthy trade market with Taiwan, including Weyerhaeuser, which has its headquarters in Federal Way, and Boeing, which has manufacturing plants in south King County. The Port of Tacoma, located south of Federal Way, has a large shipping operator, Evergreen.
While she was in Taiwan, Eide met with the Taiwan Flour Mills Association and visited the Taiwan World Trade Center and the trade offices operated by the states of Washington and Montana. Eide said she also met with several Taiwan dignitaries from the Taiwan Provincial Government.
The dignitaries wanted to make sure our relationship is kept open and to let me know how important it is on their end and on our end, Eide said.
Im very pleased with the relationship we have with Taiwan officials. We have an excellent relationship with them, she added. If we dont build our relationship with Taiwan, theyll just ignore us. We have to show them were interested.
Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, email@example.com