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Washington State in Uncertainty as Biden Remains Tough in Commerce

The overriding wisdom is that America will continue to stand back from “free trade” under President Biden. in principle, if not every detail The Trump administration line.

Despite the almost historical political polarization, the left and the right agree that past trade deals have had too many negative aspects. They may have promoted some employees, but others have done well. Simply expanding free trade is not enough.

However, the huge container ship that changed the world when it blocked the Suez Canal, resulting in huge reserves that could disrupt the world’s ports for months, shows that trade is still very much in place.

Former President Donald Trump’s tariffs և the threat of leaving NAFTA hurt exports and imports ն the epidemic caused a sulfur fist, but trade continues. According to research firm WiserTrade, US exports in January totaled more than $ 127 billion. IHS Markit forecasts that global trade will increase by 7.5% to 13.65 billion tonnes in 2021.

The future of US policy holds huge stakes for Washington, the country’s most active trading and vulnerable trading state. According to the Washington International Trade Council, 40% of government jobs are related to trade.

Already Trump’s trade war with China և Tariffs have gone up for Canada. China is the state’s largest trading destination, followed by Canada.

Washington’s exports of goods amounted to $ 41.3 billion in 2020, from $ 60.3 billion in the previous year and $ 90.6 billion in 2014. Our state is the 10th largest exporter in 2014, behind the third largest exporter in Texas, California.

To be sure, part of the decline was due to the Boeing 737 MAX crisis. Transport goods account for 21.6% of state exports, followed by agriculture alone – almost 30%.

One of the most prominent elements of Washington’s role in the international flow of goods is its ports, especially the five-year Northwest Seaport Alliance, which brought together the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

In this week’s State of the Union report, leaders discussed how half a year has passed since the 10-year Infrastructure Improvement Goal, including Seattle’s Terminal 5 and the Tacoma Husky Terminal. One of the main goals is to unload larger vessels, which includes the design phase of a 57-foot Seattle waterway.

Among the most important events. In 2020, exported 241,000 apples և 1.2 billion pounds of frozen potatoes, while a storage area of ​​10 million square feet was added. Three new container services a week were added, including Wan Hai Lines, using Seattle as Asia’s first call port.

Legislation amended the Heavy Port Maintenance Tax, where the Alliance received approximately one kopeck for every dollar raised here (the tax is heavily used to drain and improve other ports). Now the distribution of income will be fairer for natural deep water ports.

Alliance CEO John von Woolf says the burden fell in early 2020, stabilizing and recovering. The volume of the fourth quarter of 2020 exceeded the same period of the previous year.

Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. It compares to the overcrowded mega-ports of Los Angeles գ Long Beach, where dozens of ships are anchored offshore, waiting for the port area to be vacated.

The alliance is responsible for 20,100 direct jobs and another 14,700 indirect jobs (created by suppliers-sellers). These are mostly family salary positions.

So, at least in the Puget Sound region, trade is part of the benefits of a diversified, high-quality economy.

As for the other Washington, some definitions are needed. From long-standing efforts to reduce tariffs’s rules ending with the World Trade Organization to NAFTA և the dead trans-Pacific Partnership, it is not about free trade but about managed trade.

When the United States was the world’s leading exporter, a condition that existed in the 21st century, expanding trade was widely supported to drive economic growth (the United States is the world’s second largest after China). It also had geopolitical value, whether in strengthening allies or hoping to control China’s peaceful rise.

Although NAFTA redeployed jobs. Some sectors lost their jobs and others got jobs in the three-nation bloc. The “Chinese shock” discovered by economist David Autor undoubtedly cost about $ 2 million in manufacturing work. China plays by various rules applied by American companies seeking to enter the world’s largest market.

It is not surprising that Catherine Thai, the new US trade representative, promised at her approval hearing to seek a fairer trade policy, including tariffs. That means there is no going back to the Trump administration’s conditional efforts to liberalize trade.

He said that the administration intends to “go beyond that example so that what we do in the trade sector is coordinated with what we do in other sectors, but it will not force us to oppose our employees, one of our sectors of the economy. another. “

Who can argue with that? But what are we willing to do as individuals? Do you pay more for domestically produced goods than cheap ones from Asia? Save more than we consume? Only then do we begin to reduce our dependence on the 10,000-mile supply chain.

It seems difficult to talk about Chinese consumer goods from Amazon or Apple iPhones (“designed in California” but mostly built in China) – or parts of Boeing aircraft assembled here with components from several countries.

A new Reuters-Ipsos poll found that a majority of respondents want the government to buy American goods, even if they are more expensive. But people were more ambiguous about their personal consumption.

And the tougher American stance leads to repercussions. For one thing, tariffs are essentially a tax on end users, be they businesses or consumers. In addition, American exporters have much to lose. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun urged Biden to separate US-China disputes from trade so that rival Airbus could acquire business from Beijing.

In other words, America is risking too many jobs by recklessly abandoning its 75-year-old trade policy.

Take Thai և Biden seriously. They are not anti-commercial, but they want a new paradigm with an emphasis on justice, և details. But there, as every schoolboy knows, is where the devil is.

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