INTERNATIONAL TRADE PICTURE

From exports to foreign direct investment, international activity flourishes in Greater Seattle and is an important cornerstone for our regional economy. Our international trade picture provides insight into several important facets of international trade here.

Learn more about Washington state's many international connections, their importance to our state economy, and how we can become even more internationally competitive in An International Competitiveness Strategy for Washington State, prepared by the Trade Alliance and the Washington Council on International Trade.

Exports

Exports from Washington state include cargo and services, originating in the state as well as other places throughout the US. In 2011, Washington state exported over $64 billion in merchandise and commodities and over $23 billion in services, establishing us as the third largest exporter per capita in the US.

Top 10 Washington export industries, inclusive of goods and services:

Transportation equipment $28.1 billion
Computer software and IT services $13 billion
Agricultural products $11.4 billion
Petroleum and coal products $3.7 billion
Computer and electronic products $3.7 billion
Travel and Tourism $3.6 billion
Food and kindred products $2.9 billion
Financial, legal, business and other svs $2.5 billion
Machinery, except electrical $2.4 billion
Research & development $1.9 billion

Over the past 15 years, merchandise and commodities exports through Washington state have essentially doubled, representing immense growth compared to other states.

Merchandise and commodities

  • Fifth largest goods exporting state in the US
  • Top export markets, including aerospace include:
    • China
    • Canada
    • Japan
    • Republic of Korea
    • United Arab Emirates
    • Hong Kong
    • United Kingdom
    • Turkey
    • Australia
    • Taiwan
  • Top export markets, not including aerospace include:
    • Canada
    • China
    • Japan
    • Republic of Korea
    • Taiwan
    • Mexico
    • Singapore

Services

  • Fifth largest services exporting state in the US
  • Top export markets include:
    • Japan
    • Canada
    • Ireland
    • United Kingdom
    • Switzerland
    • Germany
    • China
    • Republic of Korea
    • Mexico
    • France

Imports

Around 25% of all trade related jobs in Washington state are tied to imports. Many companies here leverage global supply chains as part of their market competitiveness, with hundreds of people engaged in the logistics of transporting inbound freight to other destinations in the US.

  • $46.7 billion in imports
  • Top commodities and merchandise imports:
    • Oil and gas
    • Transportation equipment
    • Computer and electronic products
    • Misc. manufactured commodities
    • Machinery, except electrical
  • Top 5 countries of origin for Washington state imports:
    • Canada
    • China
    • Japan
    • Russia
    • Taiwan

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign companies bring knowledge and expertise to Greater Seattle and Washington state, enhancing our global relationships. In 2009, foreign owned companies employed 93,000 people in Washington state. These companies represent an array of sectors, from aerospace and manufacturing to IT services, real estate and research.

  • Top countries by employment (2009):
    • Canada
    • France
    • Germany
    • Netherlands
    • Switzerland
    • United Kingdom
    • Japan

More information, and assistance with foreign direct investment, can be found here.