Jefferson County, CO — Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo cautions policymakers in a recent op-ed against tariff escalation, noting the positive impact of international trade on Colorado’s economy, businesses and people.
“And while there is no doubt that globalization has hurt some U.S. workers, it helps many more, like the more than 733,000 Coloradans who work in jobs supported by international trade. In Colorado, 87 percent of exporters are small and medium-sized businesses. We’ve seen time and again that trade is not inherently a zero-sum game with “winners” and “losers,” but rather, an opportunity for all sides to maximize their economic interests.”
Underscoring how businesses rely on trade stability, Szabo further applies this to the transportation companies, like freight railroads, that connect these businesses.
“Another side of this uncertainty is how it reverberates among those who power the supply chain. Freight railroads, for example, are critical partners in moving all sorts of Colorado commodities – from consumer products, via intermodal rail, to coal and food products. Rail moves about 150 million tons of freight annually in Colorado and about one-third of all U.S. exports. A report by the Association of American Railroads found that 42 percent of rail carloads and intermodal units and 35 percent of annual rail revenue are directly associated with trade…
“Just as Colorado businesses and farmers are having a hard time making long-term decisions about their operations, railroads are left in limbo by this shifting demand. If they can’t plan, they can’t efficiently utilize their resources, and that could lead to service disruptions that would impact all Colorado companies that depend on rail. Rail is an excellent lens through which to view the modern supply chain: connected, efficient and cost-effective. Unpredictable policies and regulations can throw a wrench into this well-oiled machine.”