On April 10th, 2018, the World Affairs Council welcomed Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib for a conversation on Washington State’s global trade profile, the opportunities and challenges the state faces in a changing trade environment, and the role that states can play in promoting sub-national trade.
With current economic climate on the brink of a trade war, Lt Governor Cyrus Habib asserts there are four specific levels that concern Washington State:
- For exporters, benefits and costs for the current trade regime nationally should be open to renegotiation and re-examined in order to address the changing economic landscape, but Washington State benefits greatly from global trade. The key to success is how we assure economic benefits are felt in every corner of the state.
- There is great concern for how our local companies will be affected with respect to disruption in global supply. The Lt. Governor asserts "One thing that's sure is that tariffed aluminum exports are hugely problematic for supply chains."
- The entire state benefits from exporting through Washington's ports and trade economy. Having an international border and an ocean coastline that faces the most actively growing set of economies in the world - Asia, is a huge benefit for the state.
- From direct investors to pension funds, the impact stemming from recent events on twitter can be felt in the destruction of billions in value for these investors.
The Lt. Governor says, "There is not nearly enough we can do" to minimize the impact of the potential trade war. States don't have a policy setting authority, and cannot create Free Trade Zones for themselves, but Washington State can offset some harm through relationship building and the creation of certain innovation zones or global partnerships. "We can find opportunities, even in the short term, if surcharges are abound."