The U.S. Department of Commerce has honored Bellevue for its Initiative India, a special effort to boost trade in the region with India.
On March 29, Suresh Kumar, assistant secretary of commerce, presented city officials with a Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in International Trade. The city hosted a luncheon for Kumar and local business executives to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative and how it can help American companies. The initiative calls for doubling U.S. exports in five years.
Bellevue has been aggressively pursuing international trade ties with India and other countries as part of a strategy to diversify the Bellevue and Eastside economy. With Initiative India, launched in 2008, Bellevue has given workshops for local businesses on trading opportunities with India and hosted visits from India’s ambassador and consul general.
In 2009, India gave Bellevue a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and chose Bellevue as the location for its next U.S. consulate.
The Indian population in Bellevue has grown more than 1,000 percent since 2000, including employees at Boeing, Microsoft, and other technology firms.
“We realize how dependent our economic growth is on international trade,” said Deputy Mayor Conrad Lee. “One out of every three jobs is related to international trade, and at least 15 percent of our businesses.”
“We love our efforts to connect with the local community and our India, China, and Sisters Cities efforts,” Mayor Don Davidson said while accepting the award. “We are also pleased to have such a good partnership working with the Commerce Department.” ♦