Puget Sound’s Trade and Competitiveness

Your job is at risk! A Competitive World Means We Must Be More Competitive

Whether we like it or not we now live in a more global, competitive world. People want what we have and we must work hard to retain it. Our jobs and quality of life are at risk. At the same time, new opportunities exist if the region seizes them.

The Competition
Other regions, domestic and international are working for the same economic development we are.

  • Biotech; Kobe and Taiwan, to mention just two examples, are investing millions to build their biotech sectors. More than 80 percent of U.S. metropolitan regions have biotech as one of their targeted economic development goals.
  • Ports; Other ports are making improvements to compete with our ports. In Los Angeles/Long Beach, they built the Alameda corridor to speed freight to the ports. The Port of Vancouver, B.C. continues to make improvements to the port and freight corridor to our north.
  • Education Systems; Other countries are graduating much higher percentages of science and engineering students prepared for high technology jobs. Countries are also competing for international students. For example Australia is aggressively recruiting international students.

That there is competition does not mean we can’t compete. Addressing challenges by restricting trade or trying to slow down the pace of globalization does not yield long-term solutions, and often actually makes things worse. Historically, restricting trade has a bad track record. Closed societies do not prosper while open, trade-oriented societies do. Real challenges require real solutions.

  • Strategy and Vision; Other successful regions have developed economic strategies and have visions of what they want to be. From Barcelona to Sydney, this is the case. Greater Seattle must develop its own vision and implement a strategy to achieve the vision. The Puget Sound Regional Council is currently doing just that.
  • Transportation and Infrastructure; The regions we are competing with domestically and internationally are working to develop their infrastructure, including marine ports, airports, roads and rail. We must make similar investments.
  • Research; The University of Washington, as the largest research institution in the region, plays a central role in our development as a high tech economy. On a recent study mission to Munich, the Munich city government noted that "knowledge is proving increasingly to be the key resource in global competition." The city and state take great pride in supporting the research universities in their region. We must continue to maintain the University of Washington-the crown jewel of our region-and provide a hospitable climate for research institutions and industries to flourish.


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