Trade promotion imperative for America | Don C. Brunell

To many, giving President Obama more authority is a bad idea. However, regardless of how you feel about him, the President of the United States needs the power to negotiate trade agreements.

To many, giving President Obama more authority is a bad idea. However, regardless of how you feel about him, the President of the United States needs the power to negotiate trade agreements.

The issue before Congress is a bipartisan bill granting the President’s trade negotiators the power to help write the terms of trade agreements. Senators Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) brokered the deal, which hopefully make its way through Congress.

World trade creates 38 million American jobs, 846,000 in Washington. Our state has the highest per person income related to world trade.

Washington state exports hit a record $90.6 billion in 2014, an increase largely driven by Boeing and other aerospace exports, which accounted for 54 percent of the total.

While much of the economy remains stagnate, the dollar value of Washington exports, which doesn’t include software, climbed 11 percent compared to 2013, according to the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research.

U.S. News and World Reports writes, “Right now, America is on the edge of several groundbreaking trade agreements that, once entered into, would expand the U.S. economy, raise living standards around much of the globe, create jobs and open markets to goods produced here at home just as this country embarks on a long-awaited manufacturing renaissance arising out of our prolonged domestic energy boom.

“The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and the contemplated U.S.-E.U. trade agreement are like low-hanging fruit, just waiting to be plucked as America and the world move into the next stage of global commerce.”

For these agreements to be consummated, the negotiators for all the parties involved must have confidence that the agreements will be ratified. The heads of nations must have the authority to provide those assurances. The check and balance in our case is that Congress must approve the agreements.

Reaching trade agreements is complicated, but it is the only way to produce concessions on difficult issues like protecting e-commerce and intellectual property, where the rules of the road are still being written. It is also a way to resolve old arguments about the selling of automobiles and agricultural products.

Washington state has benefited from these agreements.

For example, the deal with South Korea allowed Washington cherry growers to double their exports by immediately eliminating a 24-percent tariff on sweet cherries. It also terminated a 15 percent tariff on wine and Washington wine sales grew by 25 percent in 2012.

The U.S. Trade Representatives’ Office reports over two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports are now entering Korea duty free. By January 1, 2016, Korean tariffs on over 95 percent of U.S. industrial and consumer goods exports to Korea will have been eliminated. For Washington’s cattlemen, the 40 percent tariff on beef will be phased out over 15 years.

Looking ahead, trade negotiations will be fueled by continued growth in electronic communications and the Internet. U.S. News reports that about 35 percent of America’s gross domestic product – representing more than one-quarter of the nation’s jobs and 60 percent of our exports – comes from U.S.-based intellectual property technology.

That technology has driven advances in health care and medical research, improved farming methods, and created new ways of providing education outside traditional college campus settings.

Intellectual property protections are vital to companies such as Microsoft in our state.

Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, summed it up when he told Congress that the United States cannot afford to stand on the sidelines as foreign governments rewrite the rules of international trade and American companies are placed at a competitive disadvantage in market after market.

If we do, American workers, farmers and companies will pay the price.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn.com.

More in Business

Enumclaw’s QFC debuts home delivery service

The first order is free, but other orders will come with a charge.

Boeing’s venture into hypersonic jets | Don Brunell

The company’s come a long way since nearly crashing the company with its first attempt at supersonic flight.

Avoiding trouble while Tweeting | Don Brunell

Your social media can hurt you or help you when looking for a job.

Columbia River treaty talks too vital to ignore | Don Brunell

The United States and China are currently renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty.

Bellevue company patent infringement win gives small investors hope | Don Brunell

Until recently, our courts have been little help to patent owners.

Podiatrist opens Enumclaw practice

Go see Dr. Bock at 853 Watson Street North, Suite 100.

American giving has surpassed $400 billion | Don Brunell

“Americans’ record-breaking charitable giving in 2017 demonstrates that even in divisive times our commitment to philanthropy is solid.”

Cementing radioactive wastes could save billions | Don Brunell

According to a recent article in the Tri-Cities Herald, the first phase of the demonstration project, grouting three gallons of waste held in Hanford’s underground tanks was successfully completed last December.

Mining contaminated waters to increase copper supplies | Don Brunell

With worldwide demand for copper soaring and there is new pressure to open new mines, expand existing ones, and add ore processing capacity — all of which have serious associated environmental challenges.

GE’s tumble from grace | Don Brunell

General Electric, once the world’s most valuable company, has been topped by Walgreens.

Vintage items, gifts and more at new Enumclaw shop

Featuring an eclectic mix of merchandise, partners Tori Ammons and Melissa Oglesbee… Continue reading

Jetsons cartoon robots now reality | Don Brunell

In April, the U.S. Labor Dept. reported a record high 844,000 unfilled positions in the hospitality industry — which is one out of eight jobs available today.