Every year, Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) members and staff travel to Washington, D.C., to meet in person with members of Congress, the Administration, and trade policy experts. Our goals are to:
- Deliver a message of the importance of international trade to the economy in the Northwest and what policies can foster or hamper it
- Work with the Administration on efforts to expand markets for U.S. goods and learn about their recent efforts
- Hear from policy experts on the current lay of the land, what is on the horizon, and how WCIT members can help
It is always an insightful and interesting visit.
Our members of Congress must continue to hear about the vital role trade plays in our state’s economy and how they can help. Regardless of party, Washington state generally elects members who understand this and support our efforts. But they need to hear from us to keep it top-of-mind and know how they can help.
The fly-in brings together businesses, agricultural producers, manufacturers, exporters, ports, and various stakeholders from Washington state and the broader Pacific Northwest, all of whom play pivotal roles in international trade. This year, around 20 WCIT members and staff members attended.
Who did we meet with?
The group met with U.S. Senators Murry and Cantwell, a majority of Washington state’s Congressional members, Congressman Blumenauer of Oregon, the ranking member of the Trade Subcommittee on Ways and Means, professional staff from the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations Committees, and representatives from the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. We also had briefings with several trade policy experts on the current state of play.
While the meetings with policymakers are the top priority, advocacy is a two-way street. Being informed, updated, and equipped to navigate the ever-evolving terrain of international trade is critical for advocacy and sound business decisions.
What was our message?
With a broad group of attendees, each has an opportunity to talk about their successes or challenges. Some of the messages we delivered were:
- India reduced its years-long 70 percent duty on Washington state apples, which effectively eliminated that market for Washington state producers. We thanked the members of Congress for their support in that fight.
- A path forward in the Asia-Pacific region since the U.S. dropped out of the TPP, since pacific northwest companies are now losing opportunities with countries that are part of TPP.
- The ongoing discussions about the best de minimis policy and its impacts on Washington’s ports. Read our issue brief here.
- The challenge of unequal tariffs between the U.S. and other countries for the same goods
- The need to make U.S. Customs and Border Protection processes more efficient and modern
- The need to bring some needed changes and reauthorizations to a variety of trade programs and policies, such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
WCIT’s full policy agenda is here.
How can you be more involved?
WCIT’s public policy work is a benefit of WCIT membership. If your company or organization is already a WCIT member and you want to be involved, send us a note below.
If you are interested in membership in WCIT, you can learn more here or submit the form below, and we will reach out to you within one business day.