Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Oakland Executive Promotes Globalization

By Karen Robes Meeks

Earlier this month, Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle returned to his alma mater, Central Washington University, to speak to an audience of about 5,000 graduates about embracing globalization and rejecting “extreme protectionism.”

“Don’t disengage from the world – don’t be part of the illogical rush to draw the drapes and turn out the lights,” said Lytle, a 1979 graduate. “We see too much of it today in Britain, Italy, France… and right here in the US.”

He spoke of a potential trade war between the US and China with the introduction of tariffs that could undermine free trade, “the backbone of worldwide economic growth.”

Washington state and California would be affected by a trade war since both benefit from exporting farm products such as fruits and nuts to China.

“What’s going to happen to those commodities with higher tariffs?” Lytle said. “Prices will go up. Demand will go down. And China’s booming market for American exports will wither.”

It could also mean lost opportunities for graduates, he added.

“Free trade and the world economy are what you grew up with,” Lytle said. “They’re what you know, and they’re what’s right for a world struggling to come together… not pull apart.”