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Byline: Stephen H. Dunphy
Feb. 1--In the spring of 1979, Liu Lin Hai steamed into Elliott Bay amid the cheers of a crowd and music from a Navy band.
For the first time in 30 years, a Chinese vessel had called on a U.S. port, and a long relationship between China and the Puget Sound area began.
One measure of the magnitude of what happened that day comes from trade figures. In 1978, trade between Seattle and China was valued at $49.8 million. In 2002, the latest year with complete statistics, the total was $15.2 billion.
According to my calculator, made in China, that's an increase of somewhere around 30,000 percent.
There are other changes, too. The Liu Lin Hai arrived empty and departed a few days later with a shipment of corn. Today's ships arrive fully laden with products and leave with high-tech equipment, manufacturing parts and a wide array of agricultural products. Boeing has sold billions of dollars in airplanes to China, although now it battles with Airbus for a half-share of new plane orders. …