Gov. Jay Inslee Joins Bill Gates and Experts from Asia to Headline Leading Economic Forum in Seattle

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Inslee announces first North American Boao Forum event that will include list of prominent speakers and sponsors for September conference on sustainable development

SEATTLE —Gov. Jay Inslee today responded to news that the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), Asia’s premier economic forum, will host its first North American conference in Seattle. BFA has confirmed Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Inslee, as keynote speakers. The three-day conference will bring together leaders from across the public and private sector to explore how innovation can help solve global challenges related to climate change, energy, urbanization and health, and the growing importance of the Asia Pacific region in creating solutions.

The BFA Seattle event comes on the heels of a 2013 trade mission that brought Gov. Inslee and more than 100 Washington state delegates to China to strengthen the state’s relationship with its largest trading partner. China alone accounted for $11.6 billion—roughly 15 percent—of Washington state exports last year. As one of the United States’ largest exporters of food and agriculture products, Washington state sends roughly two-thirds of its exports in this area to Asian countries.

"Given Washington state’s close economic ties to Asia and our history of fostering innovative, forward-looking industries, Seattle provides the perfect backdrop to spark an international discussion on sustainable economic development," said Inslee. "Our goal is to launch a collaborative dialogue on sustainability emphasizing research, technology and innovative partnerships. We are proud that Washington state can help lead that discussion."

With 60 percent of the global population and some of the world’s fastest growing markets, Asia is uniquely positioned to pioneer new ways for balancing a healthy environment, economy and society. The event in Seattle on September 4-6 will draw on the knowledge of more than 300 business executives, policymakers and issue experts to explore this important topic. Although focused on challenges and opportunities for Asia, the insights from this event will have global relevance for the path toward sustainable development.

In addition to Gates and Inslee, other confirmed speakers include Maria Cantwell, U.S. senator; Zhang Guobao, chairman of the advisory board, China National Energy Commission; Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States; Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China; Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia; Han Duck-soo, chairman of the Korea International Trade Association and former Prime Minister of Korea; Ma Jun, Chinese environmentalist; Chen Feng, chairman of HNA Group; Zhou Wenzhong, former Chinese Ambassador to the United States; Dr. Nan Zhou, scientist and Deputy of the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Gao Jifeng, CEO of Trina Solar; Denis Hayes, president of the Bullitt Foundation; and James Fallows, national correspondent for Atlantic Monthly.

Under the theme “Energy, Resources and Sustainable Development,” the conference has attracted partnership and sponsorship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Hainan Airlines (HNA) and China Fortune Land Development (CFLD). U.S. organizers of the BFA Seattle event include the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, the Washington State China Relations Council and the US-China Clean Energy Forum.

“Asia has become the most dynamic region in the world, but for China and many other countries, a major challenge now is how to link economic development with environmental sustainability and health,” said Kristi Heim, executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council. “This conference aims to bring some of the best minds together to exchange ideas and find new solutions.”

More information on the BFA Seattle event is available at

About the Boao Forum for Asia

As a non-government, non-profit international organization, the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is the most prestigious forum for leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share views on the most important issues in this dynamic region and the world at large. The Forum is committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals.

More Information:

Boao Forum for Asia:

Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle:

Washington State China Relations Council:

US-China Clean Energy Forum:

Media Contacts

Office of the Governor
Jaime Smith