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International Trade and Washington

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International Trade and Washington

Posted on Dec 06 by Mia Jacobs

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International Trade and Washington
(Photo: Port of Seattle, Don Wilson)

International trade is one of the pillars of Washington’s prominent economy. As the United States’ most trade-dependent state, international trade creates numerous jobs for Washington workers, with 40 percent of the state’s jobs directly tied to international trade. Exports is a rapidly growing field, responsible for more than 30 percent of the new jobs created in the past three decades. This rise in exports is due to our large web of trading partners. While China is Washington’s largest trading partner, Canada and Mexico are not far behind.

Washington and China’s trade relationship has grown remarkably over the past decade with Washington exports increasing 1,300 percent. In 2015, Washington exported 22.5 percent of its goods to China. These exports totaled $19.5 billion, with more than $11.4 billion of it from Boeing. On the converse, Washington imported $10.4 billion in Chinese goods in 2015.

Between 1996 and 2015, Washington exported $112 billion worth of goods to Canada, with trade increasing more than 200 percent. Mexico imported more than $22 billion in Washington goods between 1996 and 2015, with a growth of nearly 700 percent during that timeframe. In order to foster this already substantial relationship, the Trade Development Alliance, in partnership with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, has chosen Mexico as the location for the 2017 International Leadership Mission.

These International Leadership Missions bring Greater Seattle leaders from government, business, education, and nonprofits to a dynamic international region to build relationships with foreign leaders, observe how other international regions are competing in the global economy, and promote Greater Seattle and our financial markets. If you are interested in participating in this International Leadership Mission, please contact Samantha Paxton at for more information. 


(Infograph: Puget Sound Business Journal, Ryan Lambert)