President’s Report -March 2015
by Sam Kaplan
Washington state is one of the most successful exporting states in the country. We export per capita more than any other state and are fifth overall in total exports. So no worries about exports, right? Well, we’re not worried but we also aren’t going to get complacent and stand still. As baseball season is almost upon us, it’s good to remember Satchel Paige’s words, “don’t look back, they may be gaining on you.”
We’re looking forward by engaging in the export planning process of the Brookings/JPMorgan Chase Global Cities Initiative. Last year, as we detailed in this space, our region released a Greater Seattle Global Trade and Investment Plan that was predominantly focused on attracting more foreign direct investment. This effort was led by your own TDA, the economic development councils of the four-county region, the Washington State Department of Commerce and others. We’re getting the band back together this year and adding the horn section of the Washington Council on International Trade to focus on exports, and will release a Greater Seattle Global Trade and Investment Plan Version 2.0 towards the end of the year.
This initiative will allow our region to become even more successful at exports and more fully integrate export and foreign investment attraction efforts. Like last year’s FDI effort, we will start by developing a market assessment of the current landscape of exports in our region. This will include looking at the data on our region’s exports such as dollar volume of merchandise and service exports and the destinations of those exports, the number of companies exporting and which sectors are exporting the most and other quantifiable information. But we’ll also be collecting qualitative information by sending out a survey to current exporters and interviewing exporters and service providers. We’ll use this market assessment as the basis for creating goals and strategies to make our region even more successful at exports.
What will those goals and strategies be? We hold no pre-conceived notions. Like Empire, you’ll have to stay tuned over the coming months for the international trade twists and turns.