Xiamen Air’s new direct flights from Sea-Tac to Shenzhen, China, should bring a multitude of benefits.

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THE addition of another Chinese airline to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the latest sign of Washington state’s importance as a gateway to China.

Starting in September, Xiamen Air will fly directly from Sea-Tac to Shenzhen, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing cities. It will be the first direct U.S. service to Shenzhen.

The Shenzhen area is the epicenter of electronics manufacturing. Your phone was probably made there by some of its 11 million residents.

It’s fitting that Xiamen will link Shenzhen directly to Washington, home to world-leading software companies, using carbon-fiber 787 Dreamliners.

Ideally, the business connections highlighted by Xiamen’s Sea-Tac service will help maintain a positive dialogue between the U.S. and China.”

Some of China’s business practices are troubling, particularly its disrespect of intellectual property. The country is also provoking the U.S. and its Pacific allies with aggressive territorial moves in the South China Sea.

Ideally, the business connections highlighted by Xiamen’s Sea-Tac service will help maintain a positive dialogue between the U.S. and China as they address these sensitive issues.

Meanwhile, commercial travelers and tourists from China are contributing to Sea-Tac’s phenomenal traffic. International travel is outpacing Sea-Tac’s domestic travel, yet both are growing at double-digit rates.

Xiamen also factors into the rivalry between Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines at Sea-Tac. Xiamen is a Delta partner while Alaska is allied with China’s Hainan Airlines, which in 2008 began offering the first direct service between Sea-Tac and Beijing.

Each international route to Sea-Tac like Xiamen’s Shenzhen service is estimated to generate $75 million a year in economic activity for the region.

Even more valuable is the increased connectivity between these countries and their world-leading technology centers.