Seattle, WA-As China marks the Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, the Port of Seattle marks the 30th anniversary of several trade milestones with the port’s number one trade partner.  In 1980, several initiatives began that have benefited the state for decades.

Seattle, WA-As China marks the Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger, the Port of Seattle marks the 30th anniversary of several trade milestones with the port’s number one trade partner. 

In 1980, several initiatives began that have benefited the state for decades. In 1980, Boeing established an office in Beijing, COSCO sent its first delegation to the Port of Seattle, several others in the local academic and business community exchanged delegations, and four managers from the Port of Shanghai interned at the Port of Seattle, taking their knowledge back with them to build China’s first container terminals.  In 2009, the US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke was on hand to dedicate the port’s newest facility at Terminal 30 – the new home of China Shipping. 

Then, trade with China represented a small fraction of the volume of goods coming into the US overall.  Today, China is the port’s number one trade partner, and in the last decade our state’s trade with China has more than tripled, increasing from $13 billion in 2000 to $40 billion in 2008.   

But there’s more to the relationship between the Port of Seattle and China than trading goods.  In 2009, the ports of Seattle and Dalian began an eco-partnership, trading ideas for improving sustainable business practices and sharing expertise in areas where each has achieved success lessening environmental impacts.  The Port of Seattle is also a friendship-port with the ports of Dalian, Qingdao, and Shanghai, relationships that promote the sharing of new ideas, business contacts, and cultural understanding. 

Today, imports from and exports to China make up 40 percent of the Port of Seattle’s trade volume, a significant contributor to the family-wage jobs generated by the port.  In Washington, one in three jobs depends on a thriving international trade.

Table: Five countries make up more than 80% of the Port of Seattle’s annual trade figures. In 2009 they were:

 Country  Total Dollars (in millions)
 China  $18,677.45 
 Japan  $ 4,806.99
 South Korea  $ 1,545.15
 Taiwan  $ 1,191.28
 Vietnam  $    852.17

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