From the Longview Daily News

The federal government’s trade policy is kicking our state’s economy in the teeth.

Our prosperity here in southwest Washington has always been built on natural resources — from the timber industry that first brought settlers to Aberdeen, to fishing and crabbing along the Columbia River and in Willapa Bay.

What many people don’t realize is that we’re also the gateway to Asia for exports from all across Washington. You can’t get wheat from the Palouse to the huge market in China without shipping it through Longview or Kalama or Vancouver.

In fact, right now, you can’t get our wheat to that huge market in China at all. Thanks to the tariff war started by President Trump, Washington-grown wheat exports to China plummeted from 270,000 metric tons in 2017 to zero since May of last year. In 2017 alone, Washington wheat exported to China was worth $67.5 million, and the total value of all wheat shipped to China through southwest Washington ports was $248 million.

Wheat and barley farming supports more than 11,000 jobs in Washington. What happens to those jobs as this trade war escalates and threatens the health of our wheat industry? And that’s just the beginning. There’s also the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of exports of cherries, apples, dairy, and soybeans. And the list goes on.

It’s not just our dryland farmers that are in danger. Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the Union, with 40 percent of our jobs tied to trade.

China is the second-largest consumer of Washington seafood, buying more than $154 million worth in 2017. That’s a big haul of salmon, Dungeness crab, and clams, a lot of it caught and processed in the 19th District. Westport is consistently one of the top 20 ports in the nation for commercial seafood landings, but now this important industry is threatened. Since Trump’s trade war started, China has retaliated with a 25-percent tariff on American seafood.

Around here, we all know how damaging overactive state regulators can be to our shellfish harvest. I’ve been fighting that battle on behalf of Pacific County’s shellfish farmers, and we’re forcing the state to listen and to respect the thousands of family-wage jobs that those farmers support.

We have to keep our eye out for other threats to our economy and our way of life, no matter where they come from. A trade policy run by whim is a dangerous thing to the regular people of the 19th who have to plan their lives, run their businesses, and pay their federal income tax.

My colleagues and I have introduced a measure in the state Senate calling on President Trump and Congress to stop this destructive trade war. They should suspend the new tariffs they have imposed on Chinese trade goods, stop the posturing, and work on a long-term trade agreement that will allow Washington to resume the trade that has been needlessly and recklessly interrupted.

It’s time to re-open the gates.

Dean Takko is a resident of Longview and is the Democratic state senator for the 19th Legislative District.