Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Puyallup-based Northwest Door owner Jeff Hohman were part of a press conference this afternoon to help promote “fast track” trade legislation in the U.S. Congress. Obama has been promoting the legislation to give him authority to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which includes 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I cannot underscore enough how important trade is to the state of Washington,” Strickland said. “Forty percent of all jobs in Washington state are tied to exports. …  Supporting the president's trade agenda, including getting reauthoriziation of the Export Import Bank, is important to all of us.”

In 2014, Washington's exports of merchandise totaled $90.6 billion. The state's largest market was China, with merchandise exports there totaling $20.7 billion, or 22.9 percent of the state's total merchandise exports. This was followed by Canada ($9.3 billion), Japan ($7.4 billion), the United Arab Emirates ($3.3 billion) and the United Kingdom ($3.0 billion). Canada and Japan are part of the TPP, but China has been strategically excluded. 

Hohman noted that Australia (also part of TPP) has proven to be a strong market for his business's garage doors. 

“In Australia and New Zealand, they’re in the height of their building season and we’re sending containers literally full of garage doors monthly,” Hohman said. “It adds jobs. Today we export 10 to 12 percent of our sales. “