Greater Spokane Inc. was pleased to welcome Eric Schinfeld, President of the Washington Council on International Trade, as the keynote speaker for February’s Good Morning Greater Spokane program. Mr. Schinfeld discussed the importance of international trade, both exports and imports, to Washington State.
40% of all jobs in Washington are tied to trade and in 2014 Washington goods exports reached $90.6 billion, and service exports reached $24.6 billion. 325,000 direct jobs in Washington are supported by exports and 90% of exporting companies are SMEs.
Schinfeld also noted that imports play a key role in bolstering Washington’s economy. 145,000 direct jobs are supported by imports, and imports increase supply chain competitiveness as well as the capacity for exports.
With 95% of consumers and 70% of the world’s purchasing power outside the U.S., exporting presents great opportunities for business growth. Aerospace and agriculture products are Washington’s top two goods exports.
Shinfeld also touched on key policy issues effecting trade including the negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership free trade agreements. The reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and the passage of Trade Promotion Authority were also discussed.
Schinfeld leads WCIT’s advocacy and outreach efforts on trade policy issues that benefit Washington employers and increase our state’s international competitiveness. Prior to this role, Eric spent five years as staff to the Prosperity Partnership – a coalition of business, government and community organizations focused on ensuring long-term prosperity for the Puget Sound region – and he began his career in the Washington, DC office of U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher. To learn more about WCIT, please visit www.wcit.org