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Chair's Blog

A win for trade in Oregon October 2015
By Mitch Hornecker, Howard S. Wright

International trade and its huge positive impact on our state and regional economy has been a major focus of the Alliance in 2015. In partnership with the Pacific Northwest International Trade Association (PNITA) and the Port of Portland, the Alliance is running a year-long campaign – Trade in Oregon - to raise awareness for the power of trade to transform Oregon’s economy. Last week, our drumbeat got a bit louder as the U.S. and 11 other nations reached agreement on the largest trade pact in history.

The  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  is a proposed trade agreement among the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Darussalam, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei, a list that includes eight of Oregon’s 12 largest export destinations.  The TPP has the potential to greatly expand Oregon’s trade by opening new markets and reaching new customers, primarily in Asia.

Oregon is one the states best-positioned to benefit from this agreement. In 2014, Oregon exported $21 billion of our products to markets in every corner of the world. Our workers and farmers produce the most sophisticated, sought-after and high-quality products available, and it is a source of pride that our small state plays such an outsized role in our nation’s exports.

The TPP has something to offer to all sizes of Oregon businesses. It will improve access to markets for big companies like Nike and Intel, while also making it easier for smaller businesses to find new customers for their products. An increase in trade will bring more revenue and more family-wage jobs to these businesses. In fact, according to the Alliance’s Value of Jobs reports on trade, about 90 percent of Oregon exporters are small- to medium-sized businesses. Plus almost half a million jobs in our state are tied directly or indirectly to trade. Trade-related jobs, on average, pay nearly 20 percent more than those not connected to trade.

We believe the TPP will boost Oregon’s trade-based economy. Countries in the TPP make up 48 percent of Oregon’s exports, and they are a source of important foreign direct investment for our state: more than 145 companies from the TPP nations have a presence in Oregon, employing thousands of workers. With this new legislation, that presence can only grow.  

While we have made great progress in reaching a deal, our work is not done. Your voice is needed now, more than ever, to get the agreement over the finish line. Please write to your U.S. Senators and U.S. House Members to voice support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 
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