Northwest NEWS

November 29, 1999


Guest Editorial

A rising tide raises all boats

by Gov. Gary Locke

   When you hear the amazing fact that one in every three jobs in Washington is tied to international trade, you can understand the importance of international trade to our state. International trade is, and will continue to be, the engine that drives much of Washington's economy for the foreseeable future. This situation presents us with a wonderful opportunity for our state, and it's why I see trade as a tool that can help all of Washington move forward as One Washington.

   I think the effects of trade on our state can be summed up in the expression "a rising tide raises all boats." If you sit on a dock and watch the boats moored there for a long enough time, you'll see that as the tide comes in and goes out, the boats rise and fall in unison--so it is with the dividends that trade pays to our state. As trade increases and brings prosperity, we all benefit from the family-wage jobs and diversity that accompany it.

   During these last three years as governor, I've been fortunate to view through a rare window the benefits of trade to our state. And over the course of three trade missions--two to Asia and one to Mexico--I have learned a great deal about our trading partners, and about our state. We are fortunate to live in a state that is blessed with products in demand throughout the world--cherries, apples, wheat, aircraft, mill equipment, and computer software, to name just a few. These products come from all corners of our state and link people from throughout the state to all corners of the world. We need to continue working hard to ensure open markets globally for these products.

   Open, fair trade produces jobs for people here at home, and it provides benefits to consumers worldwide. Furthermore, trade isn't really about Washington or America trading with other giant economies. It's about people trading with people. It's about buyers from somewhere knowing, trusting, and doing business with producers from somewhere else. It requires hard work to negotiate through obstacles of culture, language, and history, and the deeper understanding we gain from that process enriches our lives.

   Finally, trade is about reaching new frontiers to serve the needs of consumers, wherever they may be. And in Washington, it is about constantly looking for new opportunities for our own citizens, our businesses, and our farmers--for the benefit of everyone.