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Trade with the Asia-Pacific Benefits Washington's Businesses and Workers

06/14/2010 - 8:15pm

The Trans-Pacific Partnership offers tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters. In a world where 95 percent of consumers reside outside our borders, the Asia-Pacific region comprises 40 percent of the global population. These dynamic economies are growing faster than the world average and generated 56 percent of global GDP in 2009. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market in the world for U.S. exports and receives two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports. The Obama Administration is committed to increasing these exports and creating more jobs here at home through the TPP.

This week, will highlight how states across the country benefit from trade with the Asia-Pacific Region. Today, we are showcasing Washington.

Jobs supported by Washington’s goods exports are estimated to be 332,000. Washington’s manufacturing exports accounted for 45.1 percent of its manufacturing output. More than two-fifths (41.4 percent) of all manufacturing workers in Washington depend on exports for their jobs, the highest share among all 50 states. Although not measured, there are also additional jobs supported by Washington’s exports of services.

A total of 8,042 companies exported goods from Washington locations in 2007. Of those, 7,196 (89 percent) were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with fewer than 500 employees.

Washington’s export shipments of merchandise in 2009 totaled $51.7 billion. Of Washington’s total exports, $33.0 billion, or 64 percent, went to markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The top three product categories to TPP member economies exported in 2009 were transportation equipment, computers and electronic products, and petroleum and coal products.

Small and medium-sized firms generated nearly one-sixth (16 percent) of Washington’s total exports of merchandise in 2007. Notably, small and medium-sized firms benefit from the tariff-elimination provisions of free trade agreements. The transparency obligations, particularly those in the customs chapters, are vital to small and medium-sized firms, which may not have the resources to navigate customs and regulatory red tape.