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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

Category: Trade
December 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Here’s the ultimate weapon against communist Cuba

Oh, crap… — the ghost of Karl Marx. If the Cold War taught us anything, it is that doctrinaire communism can’t survive prolonged and intense exposure to capitalism. This is an important reason why President Obama has made a wise choice to normalize relations with Cuba. While our weapons were mighty and our resolve strong, one…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Cuba relations, Trade

December 11, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Trans-Pacific Partnership talks shift to D.C.

Meetings resumed this week among 12 nations pursuing the huge and hugely controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, this time in D.C. where they have been met by at least some protests. To briefly recap: TPP has been pursued by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations (although the United States joined the talks after they…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: NAFTA, Trade, Trans-Pacific Partnership

November 5, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Wrong direction for trade

Almost lost in the election coverage was yesterday’s Commerce Department report on trade. The trade deficit in goods and services increased 7.6 percent in September to $43 billion. Overall, imports remained steady but exports declined: goods down $2.6 billion to $136.1 billion and services down $400 million to $59.5 billion. The United States typically…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: China, Trade deficit

September 3, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Seattle exports hit record high

Merchandise exports from the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area rose 13 percent last year to record $56.7 billion, according to new data from the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. That ranked the area No. 4 nationally behind Houston, New York and Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, Houston’s big showing was heavily powered by oil…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Washington exports

July 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Washington exports up in 2013 while Northwest flattens

Last week, I reported on how the region’s exports seem to be performing (very well) through May of this year. Now we have the official trade data for last year from the International Trade Administration of the Commerce Department. Washington clocked in $81.6 billion in exports compared with $75.7 billion in 2012. The nearly 8…


Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy, Trade | Topics: Washington exports, Washington trade

July 10, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Washington exports soar ahead in 2014

Despite uncertainty about the economies of China, Japan and Europe, Washington exports this year are doing well based on numbers through May. They totaled more than $35.7 billion, making Washington the third largest exporting state behind much more populous Texas and California. The data come from WiserTrade of Leverett, Mass. If that velocity continued, state exports for…


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April 23, 2014 at 10:17 AM

One last push on Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Obama’s visit to Oso yesterday was made en route to Asia, where he hopes to give a decisive push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the giant, “high standards” trade deal four years in the making that would involve the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. The TPP would be the most ambitious trade…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Trans-Pacific Partnership

November 19, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Next steps for Washington trade

Monday’s Washington Trade Conference drew 300 people who heard from such speakers as Scott Price, president & CEO of  Walmart Asia; David Dollar, a senior fellow, and John L. Thornton of the China Center at the Brookings Institution; and William Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council.

With Washington as probably the most trade dependent state in the nation — by one measure, 40 percent of the state’s jobs rely on it — the agenda was full, including discussions of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), China-U.S. relations and port competitiveness.

I am out of town and wasn’t able to attend. In an email, Eric Schinfeld, president of the Washington Council on International Trade, said:

Identifying clear, tangible steps to drive action on the trade policies that matter most to Washington employers is key to our state’s success in the global economy.  By educating and energizing business, government and community leaders across the state, we can create the momentum necessary to make our state more internationally competitive and successful in the future.


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Washington Trade Conference

November 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

NAFTA at 20, a mixed blessing

Twenty years ago next month, President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into law. A new analysis from the Brookings Institution shows that metro Seattle ranks 19th in total North American trade, 19th in trade with Canada and 20th in trade with Mexico.

Even so, the $7.17 billion in trade with North American partners accounts for only 18.6 percent of Seattle’s total global trade, so diverse are our international connections. Our share of advanced industry trade was 58.7 percent of all exports and imports. That compares with 47 percent for the United States.

The study, which mostly uses 2010 numbers, ranks the 100 largest American metropolitan areas, along with 59 Mexican and 33 Canadian metros. It offers a useful interactive tool that shows trade flows and can be customized by metro.

It especially shows how supply chains and manufacturing networks are now trans-national and continental in scope.

“The world is emerging as a network of cities that link together through trade and learn from each other about how best to urbanize,” Bruce Katz, Brookings vice president, co-director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, and co-director of the Global Cities Initiative, said in a prepared statement. “Nowhere is that more clear than in North America, given the integrated nature of the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian economies.”


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Canada, Mexico, NAFTA

October 18, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Vote: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Last Sunday, I wrote about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. It would be the largest and most ambitious trade agreement in United States history, involving 12 and possibly more nations.

It is said to be based on high standards for such things as intellectual property protection, the environment and labor issues. The TPP is also critical to the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.” While no one in power admits it, the agreement would be about offsetting China”s rising power as much as about trade.

Critics are many, It apparently doesn’t address currency manipulation. Another big controversy is that the negotiations are being conducted in extreme secrecy. What do you think?

Read on for some of the best business and economic links of the week, plus the haiku…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Trans-Pacific Partnership

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