In a recent Seattle Times op-ed, AAR CEO and President Ed Hamberger provides a unique freight rail perspective as discussions for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continue.
“Perhaps no region is more versed in this weighty discussion than Seattle, as its diverse economy is deeply tethered to liberalized trade policy,” Hamberger notes. “According to a recent report from the Brookings Institution, the region has 16,000 jobs at risk due to Chinese tariffs alone. Greater Seattle today maintains a staggering 138,271 jobs directly tied to exports, according to the same report. One recent study says that 40 percent of the Evergreen state’s total job market is tied to international trade, a number that towers over almost every other state in the nation.”
“Manufacturing, meanwhile, has boosted output by nearly 80 percent since [NAFTA] took effect. Private freight railroads such as BNSF and Union Pacific in Washington, move large sums of these agricultural and manufacturing products. The industry today attributes more than 40 percent of its traffic to trade, as well as a third of its labor force. Trade continues to succeed in this country.”