President Xi Jinping’s Visit to Seattle Could Prove Lucrative for the Puget Sound

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, made an historic, first state visit to the United States this past week, visiting the Seattle area along the way.

The president’s agenda for the rest of his U.S. jaunt include a working dinner at the White House with President Obama, state dinner at the White House, and then proceed to New York where he will participate in meetings at the United Nations.

To have the highest-ranking state official from the world’s most populous nation with the second highest GDP in the world ($11.2 trillion per year according to CNN. The US is first with $18.1 trillion) choose to visit our area on his first state visit is huge!

Below are some of the highlights from his trip to the Puget Sound:

  • He visited Everett Boeing plant where he got a peek at a 787 jet that was under construction, contracted by Xiamen Air, China’s first privately owned airline. Xi indicated that China will continue to need aircraft produced by Boeing over the next 30 years – with a price tag of $950 billion (about 6,330 new planes). A $38 billion, 300 jet contract between the Chinese and the plane maker was announced.
  • He participated in a roundtable meeting organized by The Paulson Institute (hosted by former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson) and a Chinese trade organization, in which CEOs of some thirty U.S. and Chinese companies came together to discuss overcoming challenges with gaining greater access to each other’s markets. This open dialogue is critical for both countries to utilize each other’s resources and markets.
  • He visited Lincoln High School in Tacoma. This is actually not his first visit to Tacoma. Twenty two years ago, he worked on developing a sister city relationship with Tacoma and Fuzhou, China (where he was a leader).
  • He visited Microsoft in Redmond where he attended the U.S. China Internet Industry Forum which was hosted by Microsoft and the Internet Society of China. He met with tech executives Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, executives from Alibaba (an Amazon-like company in China), representatives from Cisco, Apple, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, and Airbnb as they toured the Microsoft campus and watched demonstrations of high-tech products. According to the Seattle Times, the attendees are “betting that their future relies on China.”

Between aerospace, technology, and potential trade growth for the new Northwest Seaport Alliance between the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle, the Northwest, and especially the Puget Sound area, is poised to take full advantage of the opportunities for an expanded economy in China. The president didn’t go to Los Angeles. He didn’t go to San Francisco. Economically, I am very excited about how this has the potential to strengthen Seattle’s economy even further.