international trade

For small businesses in Washington state, the Export-Import Bank has been crucial when they do business overseas. But the credit agency’s ability to help them is at risk: Its federal charter has expired and renewal legislation has bogged down in Congress.

Yakama Nation and Lummi Nation tribal members protest in May 2014 against the proposed coal export facility in Boardman, Ore. A Pacific Rim trade agreement raises questions about whether investors could challenge state decisions to stop such facilities.

After more than five years of negotiations and much secrecy, the Obama Administration released the full text of a controversial Pacific Rim trade deal Thursday. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement streamlines business between 12 Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States.

President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Tuesday hailed a pending trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The deal would span 12 countries in the Asia Pacific region including Canada and Mexico.

Even though President Obama has not yet released details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership announced Monday, supporters and opponents are making their voices heard — at full volume.

Business leaders and interest groups hope their impassioned pleas will sway Congress, which must vote on the proposed deal next year.

This is what the cheers sounded like:

Software giant Microsoft had several chances Wednesday to impress Chinese leaders with the company's vision of a "free and open" Internet.

Washington’s second largest industry, agriculture, is looking for a place at the negotiation table Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This post was updated at 1 p.m. ET

Senate leaders were all smiles Wednesday after they broke a 24-hour impasse and announced they had reached a deal on how to move forward on a fast-track trade negotiating bill. That legislation would give the president expedited authority to enter into a trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries, otherwise known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

But how senators will vote on this bill depends largely on how they feel about TPP. And there's one problem.

If you think trade deals are just about business, think again. They can also have a sweeping effect on how people eat. Take all those avocados, watermelon and cervezas from Mexico we now consume, and the meat and feed corn for livestock we send there in exchange.

A summit with leaders of the member states of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement in 2010.
Wikipedia Photo

Marcie Sillman talks with Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland about why she supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Then, Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about why he's raising concerns about the TPP.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

United States Labor Secretary Tom Perez sat down Tuesday with both sides in the labor dispute that’s slowed down shipping at 29 West Coast ports. The two sides are stuck on a disagreement over how to handle disputes. The protracted slowdown has begun to hurt some local businesses. 

China's Pork Feeds People And Economies

Feb 11, 2015

More than half of the world’s pigs are in China. In 2012, farmers there produced more than 50 million metric tons of pork – five times the amount produced by the United States.

The growing industrialization of pig farming is putting small farmers out of business and it’s creating soil and water pollution.

The demand for grain to include in animal feed dramatically increased exports to China from South America and around the world.

If you want a sobering look at the scale of wildlife trafficking, just visit the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. In the middle of a national refuge is a cavernous warehouse stuffed with the remains of 1.5 million animals, whole and in parts.

They range from taxidermied polar bears to tiny sea horses turned into key chains. An area devoted to elephants is framed by a pair of enormous tusks.

China is now on the growing list of countries that won’t accept poultry or eggs from the U.S.

The Chinese government approved market access to Northwest apples Wednesday after a two-year market closure.

Seattle is having a good year for exports. Boeing has a backlog that will keep it making planes for years. Smaller companies tied to the export market are also doing well.

And they would like to keep it that way.