Washington state could get big economic boost from more international trade

SEATTLE -- The Obama Administration is on the verge of striking the largest trade deal in U.S. history.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership would drop all taxes and tariffs between 12 major countries around the Pacific Rim, including the U.S., Japan, Australia and Chile.

Supporters argue the landmark agreement will help Washington businesses, by opening the floodgates for more exports, including airplanes, agriculture and software.

“It’s all about selling American products to the rest of the world,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn), one of the state’s strongest trade advocates.

But opponents of the Pacific Rim trade deal are getting louder as the countries get close to finalizing the agreement.  The lastest voice to slam the plan is none other than the Seattle City Council.   In a largely symbolic act, the local lawmakers passed a resolution this week attacking deal.  They worry it will drive American jobs overseas, and will allow trading partners to ignore our higher labor and environmental standards.

“They are 180 degrees off base on this issue,” said Reichert.  “Trade jobs actually pay 20 percent higher than most other jobs so if we want to raise the wage limits of folks that live in Washington State, they should be for trade because they are higher pay jobs.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray isn’t with his Council on this one.  He says the Obama Administration can be expected to negotiate a tough deal that doesn’t lead to lost jobs and lower standards.