China-US trade friction would have negative impacts on related industries of Alaska, Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Alaska-based Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) told People’s Daily in a recent interview.
Popp gave a long list of industries that might be impacted, including seafood, minerals, energy, logistics and tourism.
“We are concerned about the tariffs and the current trade tensions, because we think that may take away the opportunities that we have worked very hard to build up over the last few years,” he said.
Popp believes that his company sees significant opportunities in China’s development, as Alaska is the closest state in the US to China.
AEDC is a nonprofit corporation devoted to seeking external market opportunities for the benefit of 265 local companies and over 50,000 employees, Popp introduced, adding that China is one of the corporation’s most important partners.
Speaking of the recent remarks on US-China relations made by a US leader in Washington, which claimed that the US is losing in trade with China, Popp said that his company is against such mentality. “Alaska has a different point of view on the national debate on trade with China,” Popp said.
Alaska has an economic aggregate of about $52.8 billion, and its exportation to China totaled $1.3 billion in 2017, according to Popp.
“I know that there is strong interest from a number of both small businesses and larger businesses in Alaska to seeking our trade opportunities,” he noted.
However, the trade disputes started by the US government have brought great uncertainties to all these visions. To Popp, trade disputes would not merely strike relevant industries; they would be more of a source of damage to cooperative opportunities, which would lead to unemployment and significant impact on the life of many local people, especially those who live in the rural areas.
Popp disclosed that seafood business serves as an economic foundation for Alaska’s coastal regions. In order to develop their market in China, Popp and his team have resorted to China’s largest e-commerce company Alibaba for negotiation.
Many southwestern and southeastern coastal areas of Alaska would suffer direct impacts if seafood export drops because of the trade dispute, Popp told People’s Daily.
In addition, the intensifying trade conflict between the two countries would probably have an impact on Alaska’s efforts to continue seeking opportunities in Chinese market, and it would be very difficult to find an alternative market which takes at least a few years.
Airborne logistics, according to Popp, would be another field that could be damaged by the trade disputes. Thanks to the unique geographical advantage, the close distance to Asia, Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city is now the world’s fifth largest port for air cargoes.
80 percent of air cargoes from Asia to America arrive at the Anchorage airport first. Popp told People’s Daily that the airport was the major job creator of Anchorage, and 10 percent of the local jobs were involved in air transportation.
A comprehensive trade dispute will obviously have an impact on the airport, which would probably result in a dramatic decrease of air cargoes from China, said Popp, adding that they placed high attention on the situation.
Looking into the future, Popp hopes that the two countries could deal with disagreements through rational means and continue to push forward with the win-win cooperation.
It is not just for improving economic and trade ties, but also for the enhancement of the exchanges between the two peoples, such as the promotion of mutual understanding on fundamental issues like who we are, what we are interested in and what common grounds we share, Popp explained.