Over 20 U.S. governors voiced their concerns over the current trade tensions and their hope that the U.S. and China could solve the disputes through negotiations at this year’s National Governors Association's summer in New Mexico on Saturday.
The annual meeting brought together governors and business leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges for their states. Trade disputes were a focus of discussions at a time when the U.S. and China are involved in a spiraling trade conflict.
In the past decade, Washington State’s exports of goods to China soared by 240 percent. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said on Friday that under the uncertainties brought by trade tensions, the agricultural sector along with other industries have been hit.
“Our state has exported the most apples across the U.S., and the export markets have begun to decline, because other countries have imposed tariff strikes on the White House's chaotic behavior. Our wine exports to China are also worrying. We also have concerns about industrial manufacturing exports. This is not just about agriculture, but also about manufacturing,” said Inslee.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said that international trade not only allows for a stronger economy and more rapid expansion, but also makes the world a safer place.
"You never have successful businesses with people from foreign countries without a certain level of trust," he said.
"I believe in international trade and international business. The marketplace is global in nature. We can't be just in isolation. We need to find ways to work together and have international exchange," said Utah Governor Gary Herbert.
“Both countries need to show a lot of maturity and patience, and may make some concessions. I think it's important that we find a solution quickly so that we don't add any tariffs or escalate the horror as some have described. The more we are able to establish partnerships at the state level, the more successful we will be at the national level,” said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The importance of the Chinese market for the 50 U.S. states can be illustrated by simple figures. China is one of the top five export destinations for goods and services in most U.S. states, creating one million jobs for the U.S..
Since 2008, 49 U.S. states have seen a significant increase in goods exports to China, and 17 of them have grown at a three-digit rate, according to data released by the U.S.-China Business Council in May 2018. In 2017, 30 U.S. states exported goods worth more than one billion U.S. dollars to China respectively.
Delegations from China, Canada, Kenya, Japan and Mexico also participated in the National Governors Association’s summer meeting.