Threats of an escalating trade war with China loom large, with both countries broadening the range of goods and services potentially impacted by tariffs.
If there was ever a time for Washington state to stand up and lead in the national debate, it would be now. Clearly, Washington’s trading relationship is unique and one of the largest in the country, providing opportunities not only for our companies large and small, but also providing thousands of direct and indirect jobs to Washingtonians. Consider:
- China is Washington state’s largest international trading partner, with $18.3 billion of Washington goods exported to China in 2017 and imports worth $14.6 billion.
- Nearly 30% of Washington’s global exports go to China and touch a wide range of industries, from aerospace ($11.4 billion) to agriculture ($4.4 billion), plus more than a $1 billion in services, such as software.
- In 2017, China agreed to purchase 300 planes worth nearly $37 billion from Boeing, one of Washington’s largest employers.
- Seattle was the 6th most popular American tourism destination for Chinese nationals in 2014.
- Washington state ports – a major gateway to Asia for the entire country – handled an increase in exports to China in at least nine industries since 2015 (Bovine/Equine Raw Hides – 41.3%, Semiconductor Devices – 41.3%, Frozen Fish – 90.8%, Wood in the Rough – 43.8%, Medical, Surgical and Dental Instruments – 43.8%, Motor Vehicles – 26.7%, Electrical Integrated Circuits – 33.4%, Soybeans – 35.7%, and Civilian Aircraft – 22%)
With this much invested in strong economic relationships, it’s no surprise our state has a history of advocating to eliminate trade barriers, especially with China. Our congressional leadership are strong advocates and want to hear from Washington businesses – large and small – on the importance trade has on our companies, our employees and our communities.
Congratulations to WCIT members Sam Cho of Seven Seas Export and Trade Tech’s Bryn Heimbeck, both small business CEOs and speakers at the 2018 Trade Summit, for offering their insights in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s lengthy look at our state’s connection to China. I applaud every business leader who stands for trade and encourage each and every one of you to get your trade stories out there so everyone knows how important you are to Washington. Let us know how we can help!
By Jon Okun