NEWS RELEASE: Commerce leads state trade delegation to Tokyo for Japan International Aerospace Exhibition, Oct. 12-15

OLYMPIA, Wash – A Washington State Department of Commerce delegation of seven Washington companies and three partner organizations arrive in Tokyo today for the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition, held only once every four years, October 12-15 in Tokyo, Japan. The “ChooseWashington” delegation will promote our state’s position as the leading global hub for aerospace. An estimated 700 exhibitors from over 35 countries participate in the event, organized by the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies.

Networking events for the delegation include a visit to the manufacturing, repair and overhaul facility of All Nippon Airways at Haneda Airport today, and a country briefing at the U.S. Embassy.
“We continue to set the pace for innovation here, and we continue to set the pace for aircraft production, thanks to 136,100 men and women who make up the finest aerospace workforce in the world,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

Last year, 95 percent of all the commercial aircraft produced in North America were built in Washington. The state has 1,350 aerospace related companies providing every major manufacturer and airline in the world with machinery, parts, avionics, components, structures, interiors and services. Washington workers produce 1,400 new planes and unmanned aerial system vehicles annually.

A Washington-built Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere in the world every 2.2 seconds.

“Accounting for 11 percent of all wages, the impact of our aerospace industry extends well beyond the Puget Sound region,” Bonlender said. “Trade missions like this one are helping small and medium-sized businesses access new markets and growth opportunities in this important sector, providing good jobs in communities across the state.”

“The Japan International Aerospace event takes place every four years, making this a unique opportunity for Washington state companies to meet and do business with the biggest names in Japan’s industry as well as companies, investors and potential partners from all over the world,” said John Thornquist, Director of the Washington State Office of Aerospace and industry sector lead for Gov. Jay Inslee.

Exhibitors in the Washington State Pavilion hosted by Commerce are: Air Informatics LLC, AMGI Inc, IDEA International Inc, LKD Aerospace, Net-Inspect, Nova-Tech Engineering, TMD Technical Solutions, Grant County EDC/ASPI Group, Pierce County Economic Development, and Port of Moses Lake.

Four companies are using State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) vouchers available through Commerce. The STEP voucher program, funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, reimburses certain costs of export activities for eligible small businesses.

In addition to the voucher program, Commerce export assistance includes business-to-business matchmaking, networking events and more services that small businesses typically would not be able to afford on their own.

Washington’s aerospace, tech and advanced manufacturing workforces are coveted worldwide. State investments and public-private partnerships continue to bolster an already powerful competitive advantage. Recent highlights include: $8 million per year pledged to fund 1,000 additional seats in high-demand programs; $2 million to establish a carbon fiber wing fabrication training program at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center; and $12.5 million to fund development of the Central Aerospace Training Center near the 737 plant in Renton. Commerce also supports customized training designed to meet the specific needs of aerospace companies through the Washington Work Start program.

Twenty-four of 34 Washington community and technical colleges offer aerospace training programs. The Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing at Everett Community College was awarded a $3.8 million White House TechHire Partnership Grant this year from the U.S. Department of Labor.

To learn more about why Washington’s aerospace sector is soaring to new heights, visit our website.

Follow our Washington delegation at Japan Aerospace 2016 on twitter @WAStateCommerce.
Contact: Penny Thomas, commerce Press Office, (206) 256-6106

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