Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will be out of state until Sept. 30 to participate in a trade mission in Finland, Sweden and Norway before taking personal vacation abroad.
According to a Governor’s Office news release, the trade mission began Tuesday, Sept. 13, and will last until Sept. 23. This week, Inslee and his staff will be in Finland. From there, Inslee will be in Sweden from Sept. 16-20, followed by a three-day trip to Norway.
In an email to reporters Monday, the Governor’s Office noted that Inslee and his wife, Trudi, will then be spending personal time abroad in Europe following the trade mission, and are set to return to Washington on Sept. 30.
Lt. Gov. Denny Heck is acting governor until Inslee returns and assumed the role Monday night, according to Inslee’s communications director.
According to the news release, the policy agenda for the mission centers on “business partnerships and innovative approaches to energy, technology, sustainability and resilience to climate change in the region.” Additionally, “education, improvements to correctional facilities, immigration and attracting more investment in Washington state” will be other policies the governor plans to focus on while visiting the Nordic countries.
Altogether, the delegation consists of 45 individuals from Washington.
Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, the Department of Commerce and the Port of Seattle have representatives in attendance, and representatives from the University of Washington and Washington State University also will be joining.
“Outside sponsorship, funds provided by the Legislature for the purpose of executing the memorandum of understanding with Finland, and delegate fees paid to the state Department of Commerce” financed the trip, according to the news release.
Washington state’s economic ties to the region include agreements with Finland and Norway to collaborate on technological innovations, such as reducing supply chain bottlenecks. Businesses based in Norway, Sweden and Finland have more than 80 entities operating in Washington employing more than 5,000 people, according to the Governor’s Office.