Many international businesses are drawn to Washington because it has no income tax. In fact, Washington ranked 11th in the Tax Foundation’s 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index Report. Washington offers a number of industry-specific tax incentives in the areas of aerospace, biotechnology, medical device development and information technology, which are among the state’s chief material and service exports to foreign markets.
Washington also has a number of organizations in place that work on behalf of the state’s business community to encourage the growth of international trade. Among these organizations is the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT), which is involved in developing policies that promote international commerce by eliminating trade barriers and reducing the cost of doing business across national boarders. The state’s smaller start-ups, as well as the established multinationals that are based here, all benefit equally from supportive trade policy, so WCIT members represent a range of businesses involved in international trade including farms, manufacturers, retailers and service providers.
Washington has long been known for its skilled and educated workforce, well diversified economy and its entrepreneurial spirit. Its standing as a state with one of the country’s most innovation-based economies is backed by its cutting-edge research laboratories and universities, as well its booming high-tech industry which, in 2008 alone, brought more than 9,000 jobs to the state, according to the Washington State Department of Commerce. For Washington’s business students, the decision to pursue an international business major is often influenced by the state’s network of supportive trade organizations and the ubiquitous and long-established presence of many foreign-owned and domestically based multinationals. Beyond this is an ethnically diverse population and the underlying openness to multiculturalism for which Washington has always been known.
In 2010, Washington exported $46.6 billion in fished goods, materials and services to foreign markets around the world. Its excellent infrastructure, which includes no less than 75 public ports, 139 regional airports, more than 7,000 miles of highway, and more than 3,600 miles of railways, allows Washington to remain a leading gateway to global markets. The Washington State Department of Commerce also notes that this state has consistently ranked as one of the highest “export per capita” states, and one of the highest “exports as a percentage of state GDP” states in the nation.
International Business Jobs in Washington
Some of the most recognizable multinationals in the world got their start in Washington, and among these are some of the state’s biggest employers of international business professionals, including international business managers, international trade specialists, marketing managers and international market research analysts, among others:
- Starbucks, which is headquartered in Seattle, operates more than 17,000 retail stores in more than 55 countries.
- Amazon.com, a Fortune 500 company with its principle corporate offices in Seattle, is a global leader in e-commerce, operating order fulfillment centers in countries throughout the world, including China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom.
- American Seafood Groups is the largest seafood company in the country in terms of revenue. It is headquartered in Seattle and has offices in a number of U.S. cities and foreign countries, including Japan and Denmark.
- Boeing, which has operations in several Washington cities, is the world’s leading aerospace company and employs more than 170,000 people worldwide.
Making International Business Contacts in Washington
Both Washington-based and foreign-owned companies interested in pursuing new international business opportunities are encouraged to contact Washington’s international trade support organizations: