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An Overview of the 2023 WCIT Trade Summit

WCIT trade summit room shot

The Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) held its annual Trade Summit on May 31, 2023, in Seattle, bringing together a diverse group of panelists to discuss critical issues in international trade and how Washington state can continue to grow its trade economy and the jobs it supports. WCIT President Lori Otto Punke kicked off the Summit, followed by an update from a panel of port commissioners: Kristin Ang, Port of Tacoma; Glen Bachman, Port of Everett; and Ryan Calkins, Port of Seattle.

The Summit continued with a dive into international trade’s economic and political terrain, with insights from Dorothy Dwoskin of d2Strategies and Bill Reinsch from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Bill mentioned this report on Foreign Trade Zones in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that you might find useful.

Several members of the Washington Congressional delegation joined us virtually from DC because the House votes on raising the debt limit ended up being scheduled for the same day. In addition to receiving real-time updates on the debt ceiling debate and vote, the members shared about the importance of trade to their districts, actions Congress is considering that could impact trade, and the political landscape in DC. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6) and Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA-8) joined us. Rep. Adam Smith was voting during his scheduled time, so his legislative director, Connor Stubbs, spoke to the group and took questions.

Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA-10) couldn’t join us at the Summit, but WCIT members can join a virtual coffee and conversation with her on Tuesday, June 13, from 11:30 AM–Noon. You can RSVP here.

A panel discussion on what Washington state needs from trade and trade deals featured Riley Bushue from the Northwest Horticultural Council, Jake Colvin from the National Foreign Trade Council, and John Hannah from Pacific Valley Foods. It was moderated by David Roth from Amazon.

Monica Hardy Whaley from the National Center for APEC provided an APEC update, including the upcoming U.S. Ambassadors Tour in Seattle later this month – an opportunity for WCIT members to meet with U.S. ambassadors to the APEC countries.

The implications of national security and trade sanctions were discussed by Nelson Dong from Dorsey & Whitney and John VerWey from Pacific NW National Laboratory, moderated by Ted Alden from Foreign Policy magazine and Western Washington University.

The Summit concluded with a session on mapping the global supply chain, featuring Bryn Heimbeck from Trade Tech and Jon Monroe from Jon Monroe Consulting.

Overall, the Summit provided a platform for robust discussions on the current state and future of international trade, focusing on Washington state businesses’ specific needs and interests. Some key topics/points that were raised include:

  • The importance of China to Washington state trade, the threats in the current political climate, and the opportunities
  • The Biden Administration’s shift in trade policy to focus on cooperation, transparency, and inclusivity, including labor rights, supply chain resiliency, and decarbonization
  • The impact of the di minimis rule changes
  • The expansion of shore power at ports to meet climate goals
  • The impact of new rules and regulations impairing cross-border digital services

The insights and discussions from the Summit will guide WCIT’s next steps in advocating for policies and help WCIT members understand how to navigate the ever-changing waters of international trade.

Help us keep the conversations going on LinkedIn to grow our reach and the impact of our messages by following our page and connecting with the WCIT staff and members.

A big thank you to all attendees, panelists, and sponsors for their participation and contribution to the success of the WCIT 2023 Trade Summit.

We hope to see you at future events.

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