In general, I hate to use the blog as a mouthpiece for press releases and corporate communications (it really takes away from the trademark irreverent, conversational tone that State of Trade is so dedicated to), but I thought y'all might be interested in my official statement on yesterday's progress. Here it is:
Today’s action in the House and Senate is an exciting step in the process to pass these trade agreements that are so vital to Washington state’s continued economic recovery. South Korea is Washington’s fourth largest export customer, with total exports reaching $2.8 billion in 2010. Colombia and Panama represent important, fast-growing markets for our state, with a combined value of close to $400 million in exports last year; this amount represents an increase of 180% over 2009. The eventual passage of these free trade agreements will mean jobs and increased revenues for a wide range of Washington state-based companies.

It's time, dear readers, to reach the final chapter of my "ABC's of WCIT" series of posts. We started by defining what an international trade issue is, and then followed up with an explanation of why Washington state residents should care about trade policy. So, if you get what the issues are, and you buy that they matter to us as a state and to our economy, then you should want somebody to do something to promote policies that help us be more successful. And, just like my parents always told me, I am somebody. And I have a plan to do something. Here's what it's going to be.

One thing that's true about me is that I love listening to sports radio. It's tough for a young, hip guy in Seattle to admit listening to anything other than NPR and KEXP, but I toggle back and forth between 950 KJR and 710 ESPN nonstop. In addition to getting my sports news and talk fix, I find it to be a fascinating sociological study of what radio advertisers think/know about the listener demographic. Here are the main topics of local sports radio commercials: 1) divorce lawyers for men, 2) substance abuse recovery, 3) "male enhancement" and 4) debt restructuring. It's a pretty bleak picture. So, imagine my surprise yesterday when I heard a commercial from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) advocating for a six year extension of SAFETEA-LU. Oh, by the way, it also featured audio from Presidents Clinton and Reagan.

As they say, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Sure, one of my top priorities upon being hired as WCIT president was the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. But, I figured that I'd need at least a week to get going before I could even begin to focus on those...and today is day 6. However, sometimes you're in the right place at the right time; yesterday brought the news that the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a mock markup for them tomorrow, June 30. In addition, the House Ways and Means Committee is considering scheduling its mock markup of the draft implementing bills for the three pending free trade agreements for next Thursday, July 7.

Those of you who used to read my old blog, Prosperity Blog, know that one of my favorite things to do is to link to news articles that reinforce a point that I've been blogging about. That way, I look prescient and/or self-obsessed in your eyes, and at least one of those is probably true. Plus, it's a great way to generate easy blog content for when you don't have time to come up with new original thoughts. And so, dear readers, I introduce to you the first of what will likely be many editions of a new State of Trade blog feature, the "Washington Trade Policy News Round-Up." All kidding aside, there have been a notable number of articles in the last 24 hours alone that hit on some of the key messages that WCIT is starting to promote about international trade policy and its relevance to Washington state's economy.

If the last post was entitled "To Paraphrase Mark Twain," then this one should probably make a reference to Frankenstein, George Romero or Lazarus...some clever play on rising from the dead. But that's exactly what WCIT has done over the course of a long weekend. On Friday, we were considered closed: "a Seattle trade-lobbying organization that once employed several people but shut its office after funding from a combination of sources waned." And now, Monday afternoon, we're officially revived! To quote myself being quoted: