Wednesday, May 30, 2012

EX-IM Bank Reauthorization Signed

President Barak Obama this morning signed (using 11 pens) the legislation from Congress reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

See our earlier blogs about advocacy for this reauthorization by using the labels below.

Our thanks to the Washington Congressional delegation (House: all 8 with one vacancy.  Senate: both 2) for their support of the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization and our appreciation and congratulations for our collaborating businesses and national and state business organizations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nominees Open for 24th Train Award

You are encouraged to nominate a local business for the Chamber’s George Francis Train Award to recognize a business leader in international trade.

The Chamber’s major trade award will be presented at the World Trade Center Tacoma Annual Globe Dinner, Thursday, September 6, 2012.

·         The George Francis Train International Business Commemorative is presented annually by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to recognize a local business or individual who has made a significant contribution to international business.

Previous recipients are:

      23  2011    Boeing Company
      22  2010    Lt. Gov. Brad Owen
      21  2009    Emerald Home Furnishings
      20  2008    Jack Fabulich, Port of Tacoma
      19  2007    Kirk Company
      18  2006    BNSF Railway
      17  2005    Toray Composites (America), Inc.
      16  2004    Bill Matthaei, Roman Meal Company
      15  2003    Steve Seher, Auto Warehousing, Inc.
      14  2002    Sagem MORPHO, Inc.
      13  2001    Art Morrison, Art Morrison Enterprises
       12   2000    L. T. Murray, Jr., Murray Pacific Corp.
       11   1999    Kyle Smith, Smith-Western Company
       10   1998    Phil Lelli, I.L.W.U., Local #23
         9   1997    Greg Schellberg, Evergreen Partnership
         8   1996    Weyerhaeuser Company
         7   1995    George Russell, Frank Russell Company
         6  1994    Hun & Chun Choe, J.C. Auto Part Group, Ltd.
         5  1993    Darrell W. Jesse, Jesse Engineering
         4  1992    Fred Haley, Brown & Haley/Almond Roca Intl.
         3  1991    Chuck Doan, Port of Tacoma
         2  1990    Ted Kennard, B.A. McKenzie & Co.
         1   1989    Kathy Cobb, Puget Sound National Bank

This award was developed in recognition of the tremendous growth in international business locally and for its significant economic and cultural contribution to our community.  The award honors an individual or organization making a significant contribution to the international business community of Tacoma-Pierce County.  Nominations should address these objectives.  Nominations for the George Francis Train Commemorative are to be made directly to the Chamber.  No prescribed forms are required.

Nominations for the G.F. Train International Business Commemorative should be made by Friday, June 15 to Gary Brackett at or P.O. Box 1933, Tacoma, WA  98401.

The World Trade Center Tacoma presents four awards.  Nominations for those awards should be made directly to the World Trade Center Tacoma by June 8. To see the Nomination Requirements, click here.  To download a Nomination Form, click here. Self-nominations are accepted.
  • EXPORTER OF THE YEAR - A company that has significantly contributed to exports from Washington State
  • IMPORTER OF THE YEAR - A company that has significantly contributed to imports to Washington State
  • SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR- A company (e.g., bank, freight forwarder, insurer, attorney, accounting firm, customs broker, educational institution, or other organization) that has provided the business community with significant assistance in international trade or international business
  • EMERGING BUSINESS OF THE YEAR - A company, 3 years old or less, in Washington State that has shown significant promise in the field of international trade

Granting Russia PNTR

Granting Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status requires a change in law
because Russia is prohibited from receiving unconditional and permanent NTR under Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974.

The change would likely occur in the form of legislation to eliminate the application of Title IV to trade with Russia. Title IV includes the Jackson-Vanik amendment. Extension of PNTR has implications for Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO requires its members to extend immediate and unconditional nondiscriminatory treatment to the goods and services of all other members. As a result, the United States invoked “non-application” of WTO rules to its trade relationship with Russia.

The process for Russia’s accession has been completed. As a result, Members of the 112th Congress confront the issue of whether to grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).

The Chamber has a long history of support for trade liberalization and free and fair trade practices.  In continuing that advocacy, the Chamber has joined with other Washington State businesses and business organizations encouraging the granting of PNTR to Russia.

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Planning Commission Volunteers Sought

The Tacoma Planning Commission has 3 openings available, representing Council Districts 2, 3, and 5, serving a three-year term from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015. 
Applications are due June 8, 2012.  

For more information, visit and click on “Planning Commission”.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chamber's 48 Hours in DC

In just 48 hours, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber delegation attending this year’s Washington-to-Washington, DC Conference found a path to success for several of its highest value issues.                                 
                                                                                                              < Part of the "A" Team of delegates in D.C.

To do so, the volunteers in the Chamber’s delegation met in 22 meetings with officials from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, Association of the United States Army, Economic Development Administration, Departments of Labor and Transportation, Army Medical Command, other agency staff and congressional members representing districts from one end of our state to the other.

The Chamber delegation of 23 was comprised of business leaders ranging from CEOs of corporations to family-owned businesses and civic officials from the Port of Tacoma, UWT, Lakewood, Tacoma Public Utilities and Pierce County.

Transportation, the No. 1issue of Chamber members; Associate Administrator David Kim of the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Policy and Government Affairs met with us to discuss the continued need for funding of the SR 167 extension and congestion on I-5 near JBLM.

At the Economic Development Administration, the delegation learned of several grant programs available for potential innovation programs in the area from clean water technology to cyber security.  EDA officials noted that the five proposals from Washington State for i6 innovation grants were all better than the winning recipients from the other regions.  They encouraged the community to focus on EDA’s quarterly grant program.

The Army and Air Force separately met with the group to discuss continued budgeting for elementary schools on JBLM, traffic solutions for I-5 congestion, continued funding for on-base wastewater treatment, and developing solutions for social services for military families.  Of particular interest was information about the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s interest in solving military Clear Zone encroachment.

Similarly, a conference with the U.S. Army Medical Command pointed to ways to continue the Tacoma Trauma Trust and the opportunity for a MAMC community clinic for servicemembers and families within Tacoma.

Meetings with Congressmen Norm Dicks, Adam Smith, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jaime Herrera Buetler and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Cong. Dave Reichert, Rick Larsen and Sen. Mark Begich’s staff, produced discussions on transportation, defense, JBLM’s Clear Zone, infrastructure and business initiatives for an improved environment through on LNG fuel and other technologies.

The conference sponsors were The Boeing Company, Comcast, Harborstone Credit Union, Murray Pacific, Port of Tacoma, Schnitzer, TOTE and Waste Connections.

The conference was effective and positive for not only sharing our concerns and viewpoints with our elected representatives, public officials and military leaders, but also developing relationships with one another.  Because of the consistent messaging during the meetings, delegates were actually able to support other delegates’ issues with officials.

The conference highlight was a panel discussion on federal policies and politics led by Ken Lundberg, Principal at Sixth Street Group public relations.  The panel of national pundits including Jeff Bjornstad, Washington2 Advocates; Jamie Dupree, Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group; John Feehery, President of Quinn Gillespie Communications; and Jim Manley, Senior Director of QGA Public Affairs.

Some of the members of the delegation concluded their visit to Washington, D.C. by attending Congressman Adam Smith’s Ninth District Day where they heard from a number of policymakers and lawmakers including U.S. Senator John McCain.

A special thank you to Congressman Adam Smith and his staff for their work in making this conference a success.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Alaska-Port-Industry Tour

Alaska is important to the Port of Tacoma, local businesses and the community's economy.

To emphasize the Alaska connection, members of the Chamber's Alaska Committee invited Pierce County's state legislators and members and support staff of the transportation committees for an Alaska-Port-Industry Tour

Some 12 legislators and support staff accepted the opportunity to learn more about the Alaska connection and the vital role transportation performs in the delivery of goods and services through our community.  Although a full afternoon was set aside, only a small representative sample - three local companies and the Port of Tacoma - could be featured. 

Still the mix was there.  The Port of Tacoma provided an overall perspective both because of its complex operations and hosting of tenants which market Alaska. Still the Port (with a capital "P") is just an (integral) part of the mosaic of firms in the port-industrial area.
Legislators view operations in the Schnitzer yard.

Schnitzer is representative of firms which own their plant site and terminal.  An "importer" of scrap from various parts of Alaska, including their own yard in Anchorage, Schnitzer is a green industry solely involved in recycling of ferrous metals.  And their message to the legislators: legislative action like the proviso for the heavy haul corridor in the recent transportation capital budget allows the company to expand its transportation options for more efficient operations.

Carlile Transportation, the site of the luncheon briefing, also presented a plant tour - on "moving day."  That Friday, trucks were bringing loads for shipment on the TOTE vessel in port for a turn-around to Alaska. Carlile estimated their docks would cycle three times before loading of the TOTE vessel was completed that night.

Of course, a tour through the TOTE yard and offices at their Port of Tacoma terminal gave graphic testimony to the volumes staged for the loading and unloading of the TOTE vessel.  It was a wonder to all on the tour, and yet access was only possible because the actual movements were taking place later that evening.

With the visit to the three various companies came the opportunity to see other Alaska and transportation links with the patch-work of public (Port of Tacoma and its tenants) and privately-owned business.  Included in the tour were the Lincoln Ave. grade separation, the Husky, WUT and Horizon Lines terminals.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Allies Celebrate Ex-Im Passage; Call for Presidential Signing

The Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber celebrates Tuesday’s passage of reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.  The U.S. Senate’s action, following last week’s approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, forwards the bill to President Obama. Said Tom Pierson, Pres./CEO of the Chamber, "The Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization directly benefits small and larger companies in Pierce County and helps our businesses sustain and increase jobs and exports."

The Chamber participated in efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Washington Council on International Trade in a collaborative national effort for Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, including advocacy during its 27th annual Washington-to-Washington, D.C. Conference last week.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said: “The Senate’s vote today to reauthorize Ex-Im is great news for thousands of American workers and businesses of all sizes. Taxpayers can also cheer the fact that this bill will reduce the deficit by hundreds of millions of dollars.

“When other countries are providing their own exporters with an estimated $1 trillion in export finance—often on terms more generous than Ex-Im can provide—failure to reauthorize Ex-Im would amount to unilateral trade disarmament and cost tens of thousands of American jobs.”

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons said: "It’s a good day for manufacturers after weeks of uncertainty regarding the future of Ex-Im Bank. The Senate stood up for jobs by taking quick action on legislation reauthorizing the Bank and increasing its lending authority.”

Citing the importance of trade to Washington state’s economy, local business leaders applauded Congress for reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and urged the president to swiftly enact the legislation.  “Today’s action by the United States Senate – following last week’s action by the House of Representatives – is the culmination of a year-long effort to increase export financing opportunities for businesses throughout the United States, and particularly in Washington State,” said Eric Schinfeld, President of the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT).

The Chamber urges President Obama to swiftly sign this bill into law to guarantee U.S. businesses have a level playing field in export markets.  The Ex-Im Bank’s charter is set to expire on May 31.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tacoma's Trees

Last Wednesday, the Tacoma Planning Commission took testimony on the new landscaping and urban forestry code.   Ramie Pierce, Urban Forester for the City, introduced the code with a general overview of the 150 page package.

When the testimony began it was clear not everyone was excited about the new regulations.  The focus of the testimony was the requirement for every property to plant trees meeting a specific amount of tree canopy on their property.  Every commenter spoke in opposition to some of the regulations.  The comments below are from the public hearing and cover the array of topics raised.

- Unrealistic canopy coverage requirements in dense areas, like 15-25 percent coverage on downtown parcels.
- Industrial uses could be precluded with substantial tree requirements.
- Property owners are required to provide 30 percent tree canopy for all adjacent public streets rather than the City being responsible.
- Cannot average landscaping and trees across parcels - meaning off-site habitat/vegetation mitigation is not allowed.
- Lack of clarity on when the code and canopy requirements are triggered.  Exterior changes to a building (including single family homes), would trigger canopy requirements.
- Fees-in-lieu of planting canopy are 4 times larger than the actual cost of a tree and its maintenance.
- No protection of views.
- Encourages use of non-native tree species.

- Self-managed agencies, including those with separately elected boards and foresters, are subject to City oversight rather than being recognized as independent municipalities.

The Chamber has not taken a position on the proposed regulations, but the above comments from the public hearing, certainly raise concerns.  If you have concerns you'd like to share with the City, the current comment period is open through May 11th at .  For more information, the City's website has all the documents at .

Updated 5/10/12 to clarify that the comments are from the testimony at the public hearing.  Thanks to Exit 133 for pointer (  The hearing can be heard here:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization - Not Just a Big Business Issue

From national chambers of commerce

America’s small businesses are the engine of our economy. More than 85 percent of Export-Import Bank’s transactions directly support small business by promoting exports and global competitiveness.

Ex-Im Bank reauthorization supports thousands of U.S. small businesses and nearly 290,000 good-paying American jobs. Support the Ex-Im Bank, it’s all about jobs!

Tell Congress to Save 300,000 Jobs

Courtesy of the National Association of Manufacturers

Show Your Support for the Ex-Im Bank:
Tell Congress to Reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States

Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to all Members of the U.S. House of Representative, urging them to support H.R. 2072, the "Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012", a compromise bill which would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) set to expire on May 31, 2012.

The vote is scheduled for Wednesday.

Take Action Now!