Global trade market matters in Federal Way

About 40 percent of Washington jobs are tied to international trade.

Washington is a trade dependent state that enjoys a substantial economic impact in both revenue and jobs related to international trade.

In fact, 40 percent of Washington jobs are tied to international trade, says the Washington Council for International Trade.

Strategically located between two working ports, the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce supports global trade with its Certificates of Origin (CO) service.

A Certificate of Origin is an international trade document attesting that goods in an export shipment have been obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. Chambers of Commerce are recognized worldwide as the official body to issue, sign and stamp certificates of origin due to its international network and its globally respected reputation of serving the business community.

Chambers are recognized as the official body to issue, sign and stamp certificates of origins “under the provisions of the International Convention relating to the Simplification of Customs Formalities held in Geneva in 1923,” according to the International Chamber of Commerce. “Under those provisions, national governments were allowed to delegate the administration of the certification scheme to suitable organizations — namely Chambers of Commerce.”

Chambers are, after all, economic development agencies designed to promote, expand and attract the businesses that create jobs and generate wealth. And since 95 percent of the customers in the world are not based in the United States, it makes sense for businesses to look to the global marketplace.

While relatively new, our CO program at the Federal Way Chamber supports 18 companies, reaching 74 countries across the globe. Expanding our program with an online option allows us to provide the service no matter where a business is located. Currently that means nine cities, three states … and counting.

Main exports reaching the global marketplace with Federal Way certificates include logs and lumber, dental zirconium, wood pulp, liquid packaging materials and coffee equipment. In 2017, the top three countries to receive our exported goods were China, Vietnam and India.

As part of our Horizon initiative, the business leaders at the Federal Way Chamber believe international trade needs to be part of our strategy for economic growth. To do this, the business community is working to create a more regionally connected understanding of how to expand business opportunity.

The Chamber is exploring how to facilitate export growth and trade with other markets — in the U.S. and abroad, working with companies in our regional corridor to expand supply chain opportunities. Looking to the horizon means finding ways to identify and enhance industry specializations in our area. This, in turn, will bring new income to the business community.

For 65 years, this Chamber has been working to welcome investment and talent to our area. Our Certificate of Origin program is just one part of our longstanding effort to share the Federal Way story with the world and put our business community on the map.

And for that, we are indeed, certified.

Rebecca Martin is CEO of the Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. Contact: rmartin@federalwaychamber.com.

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