Local lawmaker visits Indonesia to protect jobs in Washington

JAKARTA, Indonesia - A local congressman is half a world away this week working to protect jobs in Washington state.

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, is worried that new laws in Indonesia could cost our state millions.

Fruit from Washington state is known around the world as the best - but new trade rules could keep the state's crops out of Indonesia.

So McDermott said he is spearheading the fight to prevent the laws from taking effect.

"Right now we export about $57 million a year worth of tree fruit, apples and cherries to Indonesia, and they have put some new rules in place - or they said they would put some rules in place - that would make it very hard for our fruit to get in," he says.

Right now McDermott is meeting officials and lawmakers there. He says the one-on-one meetings have a much better chance of getting results than just emails or phone calls.

"It is always better to talk face to face with someone," says McDermott. "If you've taken the time and energy to come out and talk to them, they know you're serious."

And the clock is ticking. If the U.S. delegation is not successful, McDermott says the new rules would go into effect at the end of this month.

McDermott's trade mission came at the request of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.