Washington State is ratcheting up its efforts to expand its supply chain work beyond Boeing, state and federal officials said in their final Paris Air Show conference call.
“Don’t underestimate the European companies that want to do business in the US because they want to do business in US dollars,” said US Rep. Rick Larsen, who led the State’s air show delegation, filling in for Gov. Jay Inslee who stayed home to deal with budget issues. “They want to get into Boeing.” Larsen said an experienced workforce is the #1 issue. Companies want “to start today rather than wait for other states. This is one of the distinguishing factors for Washington.”
“We want to go after supply chain for the entire industry,” Inslee said, noting that European suppliers want to come to the US for dollar-based work.
“One of the things that is becoming more and more apparent to us is we have great opportunities in the entire supply chain,” Inslee said. “Thirty-five percent of jobs [in Washington] are in supply chain. We can be very competitive because of their desire to deal in dollars. We need to make sure we build on that opportunity and this is one reason we want to have the budget to build on training.
“We have to think expansively to think of these opportunities.”
Inslee said that 75% of suppliers here do business with Boeing, 40% work with Airbus, 39% with Bombardier and 25% with Embraer.
“The supply chain has flown under the radar,” Inslee said. “We really haven’t given it enough attention on our economic strategy. This is a supply chain that can service all the manufacturers. We don’t live in a single company world any more. We have to serve all of it.”
Inslee said he’s still working on retaining the Governor’s Office of Aerospace in the yet-to-be written budget. The Democratic version retained and increased funding for the office. The Republican version eliminated funding. There was an impasse in the regular session of the Legislature to agree to a state budget and the special session so far has not seen an agreement. If a budget isn’t approved by July 1, the state government starts shutting down.
Inslee proposed budgets for more workforce training and for transportation improvements to make it easier for goods to ship to Boeing and the supply chain. These, too, are stalled in the budget impasse.