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Washington Businesses Speak Up In Favor Of Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Mike Mozart
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Microsoft is among the Washington businesses that's come out in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

Executives from Washington industries, ranging from software to aerospace to agriculture, are speaking out in favor of the Pacific trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The TPP, which establishes trading rules among 12 Pacific Rim nations, gets rid of thousands of tariffs on everything from perforated toilet paper to butter.

Mike Gilmartin is with a Spokane company called Commercial Creamery that sells powdered cheese. He says he is excited about selling to Southeast Asian countries that have a young population because dairy consumption goes down with age.

"The interesting countries to me are Malaysia and Vietnam, where we haven’t had access, and the median age in those countries is, like, 28 and 29 years old," Gilmartin said at a conference sponsored by the Washington Council on International Trade. "They will consume dairy."

But it is not just about getting rid of tariffs. Microsoft executive Dorothy Dwoskin says the Trans-Pacific Partnership has important safeguards for allowing data to flow between countries to help facilitate more e-commerce.

"It really put a line in the sand against digital protectionism," Dwoskin said.

The trade deal has been hammered out between the 12 nations; which include Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam; but now needs to be passed by each one. In the U.S., it faces a tough battle in Congress because of pressure from environmental and labor groups that have criticized the agreement for being too business-friendly. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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