Commerce to sign agreement with Niedersachsen Ministry during Paris Air Show trip

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, Commerce Director Brian Bonlender co-host Washington state’s 70+-member delegation – the largest ever – to the world’s premier aerospace trade show

OLYMPIA, WA – U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Washington State Commerce Director Brian Bonlender today kicked off four days of development meetings and VIP events for the state’s largest- ever trade delegation to the 2017 International Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France. More than 70 individuals representing 18 aerospace-related companies and 14 of Washington’s ports, counties, schools, aerospace and economic development organizations are exhibiting, presenting and doing business at the world’s premier aerospace and space trade show, held every two years.

“I want to thank Governor Inslee for asking me to come in his stead,” said Larsen, the top-Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Aviation. “I was here four years ago, and though the aerospace industry has changed a lot since then, one constant is that the aerospace marketplace is global and extremely competitive. Washington workers are competing not against other states as much as they are competing around the world, and we saw that day one here at the Paris Air Show.”

Tomorrow, Bonlender will sign a memorandum of understanding on behalf of Washington state with the State of Niedersachsen, Federal Republic of Germany. The agreement expands on a longstanding relationship between the Department of Commerce and the Niedersachsen Ministry of Economics, Labor and Transport to foster technical collaboration and economic development between the two regions.

The scope of the agreement includes collaboration on research, development and commercialization of products and services, information sharing, exchanges between business leaders, students and researchers and joint global marketing and promotion activities.

“Washington and Niedersachsen are world leaders in the development and use of advanced technologies, sharing common strengths in the aerospace and renewable energy sectors,” Bonlender said. “New manufacturing technologies are disrupting key industries. Washington’s alignment of research, education and workforce development with business positions us well in this convergence of technology.”

Last Friday and Saturday, a smaller group of Washington state delegates visited the French aerospace cluster in Toulouse that is home to Airbus. Greeted by the city’s mayor, they toured Airbus Defense and Space and met with the company’s senior vice president of procurement strategy and services. In addition, the Washington delegation visited Liebherr, which has a presence in Everett, WA, and presented to an audience of French businesses about doing business in Washington before attending a reception hosted by the French-American Chamber of Commerce.

“We are looking forward to a very busy, exciting week here in Le Bourget,” said Washington Aerospace Sector Director John Thornquist. “Boeing and its suppliers have led a surge in aerospace investments in Washington state in recent years, with dozens of companies around the world coming or expanding here to serve the 777X and 737MAX programs, as well as burgeoning opportunities in space, unmanned systems and other segments of our aerospace industry.”

Thornquist will speak about Washington state’s “Century of Global Aerospace Leadership” tomorrow at a session co-hosted by the French-American Chambers of Ile-de-France and Seattle. Tom Brosius, vice president and general manager of Auburn’s Orion Aerospace is also featured. On Thursday, Thornquist moderates a panel of international experts on aerospace industry workforce in the U.S. Pavilion, featuring Mary Kaye Bredeson, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing in Everett, and Larry Cluphf, executive director of Washington’s Aerospace Training and Research Center, among the speakers from the U.S.A., France and the United Kingdom.

About 1,400 companies comprise Washington’s renowned aerospace industry supply chain, which serves Boeing, Airbus and every other major aircraft manufacturer in the world. More than 136,000 workers support the aerospace industry in Washington which is also a growing hub for space commercialization.

Follow the “Choose Washington” delegation this week @WAStateCommerce, #PAS17 on social media and visit our website for a downloadable Delegate Directory and more information.


Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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