Increased calls to moderate trade policies that have had disproportionately negative impact on Washington

The Seattle Times weighs in, again, on trade policies with an editorial calling for increased Congressional oversight.

More than most states, Washington has suffered the collateral damage of President Donald Trump’s fickle trade policies. Our manufacturers, creators and farmers know better than most that the last thing Congress should do is give the president even more latitude…

Washington’s congressional delegation must make sure that its colleagues understand the real impacts of Trump’s trade war. Don’t give him more power; demand more oversight. Require congressional approval for new tariffs, an idea that even the business community supports as a necessary check on the president’s trade whims.

The editorial points out the disproportionate harm these policies have done to our trade-driven economy.

This is a globally connected state, especially to Asia. China, Japan and South Korea are among our top trading partners, and 40 percent of all jobs in the state are trade-related. Imports and exports pass through our harbors and airports. Our manufacturers and programmers sell to markets around the globe. And our agricultural industry feeds people worldwide…

The Washington Council on International Trade reports that the tit-for-tat tariffs have particularly hurt Washington apple, cherry and potato growers as well as wine, beer and spirits makers. Through October of last year, the most recent data available, Washington producers faced $127 million in new retaliatory tariffs and declining exports.

As the ST writes, business groups have urged checks on executive tariff authority.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and two coalitions with dozens of trade associations are backing legislation to require congressional approval before a president imposes such national-security tariffs.

We previously cited a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study finding the Washington state economy is exposed to “extremely significant damage” from tariffs and trade war.

Without endorsing a specific policy prescription, we agree that the current trade conflicts are unsustainable and harmful to our state’s economy. A swift resolution along the lines recommended by the business organizations would be welcome.