November 7, 2016
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

Obama administration pushing for approval of Trans-Pacific Partnership after election

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, has become a political target during the election season, but its many benefits for American manufacturers, exporters and farmers have kept its supporters pushing for its ratification. The Obama administration is working with congressional allies and undecided lawmakers and looking at a timeline for congressional approval during the lame duck session of Congress after the election, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It's a long shot, but administration officials are talking with both Republicans and Democrats about a path forward for the 12-nation trade pact. TPP would lower tariffs and set the rules of the road for a trade bloc that includes Japan, Australia, Mexico and Vietnam.

The ways TPP would help America are being lost in the discussion, George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen writes in a Bloomberg piece called "TPP Is Exciting. Let's Make the Case for It."

The big picture, enthusiastic reasons to support TPP come down to this, he said: keeping North America, and especially the U.S., the world's leading economic cluster for the foreseeable future.

"There are thus two visions of America’s economic future," he writes. "In one, the U.S. is able to mobilize Asian resources to help maintain its role as world economic leader, to the mutual benefit of most other Pacific nations. In the other, the talents and resources of the TPP nations get pulled in other directions, including toward China, and U.S. economic and geopolitical leadership declines."

Meanwhile, in Canada, a major trade agreement with the European union is proceeding onward with widespread support, Jon Talton writes in The Seattle Times. Once ratified, the deal will drop 99 percent of tariffs between Canada and the European Union (EU). It will help our northern neighbor jump ahead of the United States in opening trade with the world's largest economy (the EU has 500 million people, 28 countries and a combined GDP of $16 trillion.)

AWB members can meet members of the new Congress and their top staff at the 2016 AWB D.C. Fly-in Dec. 5-7. This is a great opportunity to learn more about, and share your perspectives on key employer issues, with the people representing you here and around the country. To register, contact Kelli Schueler at 360.943.1600.

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Focus on Sustainability

Boeing, Alaska Air lauded for leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

By Andrew McIntosh, The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Two of Puget Sound's biggest aerospace companies are working hard to cut emissions as part of the regional efforts to combat climate change, a new report says.

Boeing Co. and Alaska Air Group each adopted a series of small but important measures that can make a difference, according to a new Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce report.

Entitled "Bright Green in an Emerald City," the report lists dozens of examples of emission-reduction efforts at companies, a university and some non-profits.

Boeing and Alaska Airlines are praised for developing shorter, more precise routes for incoming aircraft traffic flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport... Every Sea-Tac flight using such approaches conserves an average of 87 gallons of fuel, and saves passengers nine minutes of flying, the Seattle Chamber's report said.

Greenhouse gas emissions reduced with each of these flights equals to what a small car would use, driving all the way from Seattle to Minneapolis, the report added.

Read the full story in The Puget Sound Business Journal
The Risks of I-732

Collaborate, don't regulate carbon

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Washington state employers are proven leaders and innovators in energy conservation, carbon reduction and environmental efforts.

The record proves this is already taking place without a carbon tax, but rather through innovation and collaboration.

Washington's population has increased 43 percent since 1990 and the economy has grown 260 percent, yet carbon emissions are down 18 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

From small operations to large steel mills, companies have built sustainability and environmental stewardship into their operations, not as an afterthought.

Despite this solid environmental record, voters will be faced with a choice to raise the cost of energy -- the engine that keeps Washingtonians moving and warm -- through Initiative 732. It would put in place a carbon tax under the guise of doing what employers and residents are already doing -- lowering carbon emissions. But, it is not without risk to the economy, K-12 education and our low- and fixed-income neighbors...

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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