The six largest West Coast ports — Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Oakland, Port of Portland, Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma — sent a letter to President Donald Trump today sharing their concerns that the long-term impacts of the escalating trade conflict between China and the United States will create irredeemable economic harm to employers, workers, residents and international partnerships along the West Coast and throughout the entire country.
“The chaos of the current trade war is one of the most prominent risks ahead. Exporters are losing market opportunities through increased tariffs on sales to China. Changing global trade routes could mean fewer West Coast imports as supply chains shift away from China,” said Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.
“A long trade war could mean more shipping time for western producers and fewer work opportunities for West Coast workers,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.
From the letter:
“As the largest ports on the U.S. West Coast, we are writing to share our concerns that the long-term impacts of the escalating trade conflict between China and the United States will create irredeemable economic harm to employers, workers, residents and international partnerships along the entire coast and throughout the country.
“U.S. trade policy impacts not only our core businesses, but also the success of our customers, and the livelihoods of our local communities. Collectively, our trade and logistics operations employ hundreds of thousands of family-wage workers whose jobs rely on dependable trade flows. In addition, the cargo handled at our ports flows to and from every corner of the country — from the Atlantic seaboard through America’s heartland to the West Coast — to support American businesses of every size. In fact, 38% of all U.S. exports to China by value go through our six ports alone.”
The letter also highlights the latest impacts related to back-and-forth tariffs between the United States and China.
- California is the largest exporter to China of any state in the nation; in 2018, California ports collectively saw a decrease of about 30% in exports to China.
- Exports to China of wheat — grown across 10 states from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest and exported via Washington and Oregon ports on the Columbia River — have nearly ceased this year.
Similarly, The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport exports have declined, including potatoes (-16.85%), hay (-49.93%), skins and hides (-47.89%), salmon (-47.71%), cherries (-54.56%) and fresh crab (-63.34%).