The event brought together a range of speakers from government and industry who addressed top issues for Washington State, a region with close links to the Pacific Rim and home to global companies including Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks and Amazon. Trade is a core economic driver for the state – a recent WCIT survey cited that 40% of all jobs in the state are tied to trade-related activity across multiple sectors from agriculture to aerospace, technology and tourism.
Commissioner Meredith Broadbent, US International Trade Commission, opened the event with a keynote address in which she provided an overview of issues in Federal trade policy. In her comments, she noted that 700,000 US jobs are related to investments of US firms in foreign affiliates; and on the IP front, she stated “if Chinese IP protection was up to US standards, the US would gain an additional 2.1 million jobs.” She also remarked that the standards outlined in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are “better for the global economy.”
Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire touched on the importance of highlighting intellectual property protection in discussions with officials during state trade missions and also gave kudos to several other WCIT speakers, Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell for their work on free trade.
In his luncheon keynote, Microsoft’s Brad Smith drove home the significance of diversity, education and infrastructure for positioning Washington State effectively for increased trade activity; and also touched on the importance of IP protection at a global level.
After the conference, CREATe.org hosted a presentation highlighting the launch of CREATe Leading Practices, an online service which helps companies work with global suppliers to build management systems for protecting intellectual property and preventing corruption.
To view the WCIT conference highlights on Twitter, check #watradeconf.