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

The Asia-Pacific region offers tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters. In a world where 95 percent of consumers reside outside our borders, APEC comprises 40 percent of the global population. Many of these dynamic economies are growing faster than the world average and together generate 56 percent of global GDP in 2010. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market in the world for U.S. exports and receives over 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports.

Washington’s goods exports in 2010 totaled $53 billion. Of Washington’s total exports, $37 billion, or 69 percent, went to markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The top three product categories to APEC member economies exported in 2010 were transportation equipment, agriculture products, and food manufactures. Washington Exported $36.8 Billion in Goods to Asia-Pacific Countries in 2010.

Jobs supported by Washington’s goods exports are estimated to be 258,300. 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 (2008 data are the latest available).

A total of 8,480 companies exported goods from Washington locations in 2008. Of those, 7,627 (90 percent) were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with fewer than 500 employees.

Small and medium-sized firms generated nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of Washington’s total exports of merchandise in 2008. 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.