Eric Schinfeld, president of the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT), discussed the importance of international trade to our state at a Washington State House Technology & Economic Development Committee hearing on Wednesday, January 16. This was the committee’s first hearing of the year, and its focus on international trade underscores the importance of trade as the single largest driver of Washington state’s economy.

Schinfeld’s presentation highlighted the findings and recommendations of the International Competitiveness Strategy for Washington State, a study co-authored by WCIT and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle. The study found that 40% of all jobs in Washington are tied to international trade, and that state government has a crucial role to play in ensuring Washington state’s international competitiveness, particularly in terms of policy and investment decisions that allow Washington employers to maximize their success in the global marketplace. A one-page summary of these findings is available here.

Schinfeld urged members of the State Legislature to concentrate on four actions identified in the study:

  • Increase state promotion;
  • Invest in freight mobility
  • Provide support for a globally-competitive workforce; and
  • Focus on port competiveness to help employers succeed in the global marketplace.

Video of this presentation (via TVW) is available here.

This presentation is part of WCIT’s growing advocacy role at the state level, in addition to its federal trade policy advocacy. Recently, Schinfeld and TDA president Sam Kaplan coauthored an op-ed in The Seattle Times encouraging legislators to make investments in our state’s competitiveness.