Seattle Ranks No. 4 in U.S. Exporting Cities with Record $61.9 Billion Goods Exported in 2014

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area ranked as the nation’s No. 4 goods exporter in 2014, its exports reaching a record $61.9 billion.

A new U.S. Commerce Department study, by the International Trade Administration, lists the Puget Sound area behind only Houston (No. 1 with $119 billion), New York City and Los Angeles in the value of its exports.  The Detroit metropolitan area rounds out the top five.

The Commerce Department identifies the top exporting cities.

Seattle-area goods exports — from aircraft to apples — increased by $5.3 billion, or 9.3 percent, from 2013 to 2014, at a time when U.S. metropolitan area goods exports exceeded $1.44 trillion in 2014, up $36 billion from 2013.

“We live in a time where it is a necessity for U.S. businesses to consider that their next customer is just as likely to come across the globe as across town,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

“As U.S. firms produce and sell their world-class products to customers around the globe, each transaction strengthens our local and national economies, and creates more jobs here at home.”

Curiously, the robust export news comes at a time of rising local resistance to U.S. trade agreements, and recent action by Congress giving President Obama “fast track” authority to negotiate a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

The Washington State Labor Council, plus liberal and environmental groups, lobbied intensely against “fast track” authority.  U.S. Reps. Adam Smith, Jim McDermott and Denny Heck, D-Wash., voted against the Obama administration.

The Seattle City Council passed a grandstanding, “Whereas”-laden Mike O’Brien-Nick Licata resolution strongly critical of the proposed trade agreement

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., along with 11 other “trade Democrats” did provide key votes in passing the “fast track” legislation.

The ideological interventions haven’t stopped with the trade agreement.  O’Brien, Licata and Council member Kshama Sawant sent out a letter earlier this year endorsing and echoing labor unions’ positions in their long-running dispute with West Coast ports.

The letter went out just as Pritzker and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez were engaged in 11th-hour negotiations that ended the months-long slowdown at West Coast ports.

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue was one of 139 metropolitan areas to achieve record goods export levels in 2014. The Puget Sound area increased goods export for a four consecutive year.

Call it the economic engine … 25 percent of Washington jobs are directly related to our export economy.  (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)

Canada, China, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — the latter two major jet buyers — were leading destinations for goods exports from the Seattle area. (Chicago ranked as No. 1 in exports bound for Canada.

And Seattle sent 19 percent of its goods exports to markets in countries where the United States already has trade agreements.