It was a privilege to be included in Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s business development mission to Asia last month. The Governor’s two-fold objective for the mission to promote Oregon products and attract investment back into the state took the public-private sector group to China and Japan for ten days. The Governor is an advocate of personal visits to Chinese and Japanese officials and customers to leverage long-standing relationships and tout Oregon’s Pacific Rim location. The Governor specifically promoted Oregon agricultural products, wood products, green building and clean technology, tourism, and ports. He also checked in with companies doing business in Oregon and explored new opportunities for Asian businesses to expand into Oregon.

While I was only with the mission for visits to Shanghai and Hong Kong, I could see the difference a trade mission makes in securing relationships and reinforcing what Oregon has to offer in export trade. Oregon’s international trade grew to over $18 billion last year. China is currently one of Oregon’s largest trading partners with $1.6 billion in exports from Oregon during the first eight months of this year.

The trade delegation met with representatives of COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company), headquartered in Shanghai, the world’s fastest growing shipping company and one of the largest container operators in the world. It was exciting to meet their team in China and see the breadth of their growing operations, especially since they are significant shipping partners of Hampton’s in both import and export trade.

Business Oregon, the agency devoted to business development in our state, prepared the Governor and his team for the mission. Each of the state’s five top industries has a “snapshot” profile handout reflecting its contribution to Oregon’s economy. Here is the site’s introduction to our industry:

“Oregon is the largest lumber producer in the U.S. yielding the highest quality lumber in the world. Advanced technology has streamlined the processing of Oregon timber and finished wood products, making the industry more competitive and less labor intensive.”

Go Oregon wood innovation!

Steve Zika
CEO, Hampton Lumber