June 25, 2018
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

Trade-driven Washington state braces for impacts of escalating global trade tensions

Trade tensions escalated over the weekend with the president calling on America’s trading partners to remove trade barriers and tariffs or face the consequences. Following the president’s tweets, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a group of American and European executives that Beijing plans to strike back.

The escalating tensions are a concern for trade-driven Washington state where 40 percent of jobs are connected to international trade. The impact is already being felt in Spokane where Dry Fly Distilling is reportedly losing international whiskey sales as a result of new tariffs, The Spokesman-Review reports.

Canada and the European Union imposed 25 percent tariffs on American-made whiskey in retaliation for the presidential administration's decision to put tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from those regions. China also imposed tariffs on whiskey, among other products, as a counter move to new American tariffs.

For Dry Fly, which exports 10 percent of its product, the impact has been immediate. Ontario canceled an order for 2,000 cases of whiskey, and Dry Fly's distributor in the European Union isn't filling orders either.

“This affects every U.S. whiskey producer from Jack Daniels all the way through to little guys like Dry Fly,” said Dry Fly co-founder Don Poffenroth, whose company has 10 employees, and who hosted AWB during the 2017 Manufacturing Week Tour. “We’re a tiny player in this whole equation, but it’s definitely a localized effect.”

And the trade disputes hurt the company on the production side, as well. The company wants to increase capacity, but America's newly imposed import tariffs mean the cost of European-made stainless-steel tanks have shot up 25 percent. Even U.S. manufacturers are charging more for their tanks, he said. And so, for now, Dry Fly's expansion plans are on hold.

During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, questioned U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the administration's trade policies.

“Mr. Secretary, I want you to hear me. Apples and cherries are getting hurt,” Cantwell said. “Now, seafood, which again is also on short margin, is going to be in the same spot…”

Ross responded by saying tariffs today could ultimately lower trade tomorrow for American industries, including those that are dependent on intellectual property. Trade will be one of topics of discussion at AWB's second-annual Federal Affairs Summit, to be held Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Learn more and register at AWB's website.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.

« Back to Main
Award Applications Due This Week
Lessons to Learn

Five things Seattle leaders should learn from the head tax repeal

By Tim Punke and John Murray

The Seattle City Council's stunning reversal on the $275-per-employee jobs tax was a case study in over-reaching and misreading public sentiment. As Seattle moves forward, there will be a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking and second-guessing, but there are some key lessons in this historic about-face:

* Seattle has tax fatigue

* We need accountability

* We shouldn't take jobs for granted

* Seattle's business community is the envy of the nation

* We need thoughtful regional solutions to homelessness and housing insecurity

Ultimately, it's not just about working together on homelessness, or other pressing issues of the day. It's about our elected leaders leading, seeking common ground, and partnering with both the advocate and business communities...

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

TVW providing must-see TV for 2018 election

By Renee Radcliff Sinclair, TVW president

As part of TVW's obligation to provide you with information about your state government, we have a profound commitment to state election coverage. This summer and fall, TVW will be traversing the state to cover statewide candidate and ballot measure campaigns. In addition to airing candidate forums and debates on TVW's cable television station, all programming is archived and available for your use right here. As election season approaches, this site will be updated daily with new events and opportunities for you to gain further insights into candidates and ballot measures.

Part of TVW's media philosophy has always been to enable the public to hear directly from our news sources in something more than just short sound bites. With that commitment as a backdrop, TVW has partnered with Secretary of State Kim Wyman to make available a Video Voters Guide, allowing you to hear directly from the many candidates running for office this August. Here you can access three-minute, unedited candidate statements outlining the policy priorities of each. These candidate vignettes are also airing regularly on TVW's cable television station across the state (check local listings)....

Read the full guest column in The Yakima Herald-Republic
Upcoming Events