This summer international trade has taken center stage as Congress debated Trade Promotion Authority, the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, and the pros and cons of free trade agreements. But regardless of your stance on these issues, one thing is for certain: international trade is an essential and powerful component in the Spokane region economy.
In 2013, the total value of Spokane exports was more than $850 million. More than 10,000 jobs are directly supported by exports in Washington’s 5th congressional district, with more than 6,500 of those jobs being in manufacturing and 3,100 in crop production. Simply put, in Spokane, trade matters.
And trade matters not only to maintaining a strong local economy, but also in growing it. With roughly 95% of the world’s consumers outside of the U.S., the world market represents vast opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises. But currently less than 1% of all American companies export. And of those that do, 58% export to only one country. This means the international market is still largely untapped and local businesses have great potential for growth if they look beyond our borders for customers.
As integral to our local economy and having such great opportunities for growth, international trade deserves a closer look. So over the next few months we will be examining everything from our local trade activity to the impact of free trade agreements to emerging world markets.
Although often unseen, international trade matters. For more information about the work that GSI does to support International Trade, or to find out how we can help you do more business internationally, visit our website, contact Drew Repp, International Trade Manager, or join the conversation at #WhyTradeMatters.