Sponsored by Oregon Business

Exporters follow the money to China

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
china
ILLUSTRATION BY MARTIN GEE

Oregon is the ninth-most trade dependent state in the country, so it took a significant hit when exports plummeted by 23% statewide in 2009.

But not all exports have suffered equally. While European markets have struggled with the Greek debt crisis of late, Asian economies have bounced back powerfully. That’s good news for Oregon because five of the state’s top six export markets are Asian nations.

The opportunity is richest in China, which shot past Japan and Canada last year to become Oregon’s most important trading partner. Exports from Oregon to China grew by 20% in 2009 while shrinking by 32% to Canada.

All of this has happened in spite of China’s notoriously undervalued currency, to the benefit of Nike, Intel and Schnitzer Steel, to name a few. Specialty manufacturers such as TriQuint Semiconductor of Hillsboro, which builds chips for handheld devices including the iPhone, have also targeted China with success. TriQuint saw its sales in China leap from $137 million in 2008 to $225.5 million in 2009.

With gains like that it’s not surprising that state officials recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to support the Obama Administration’s initiative to increase financing for small- and medium-sized exporters. Obama hopes to double exports and has singled out China as the market with the most potential. Policy-makers are also weighing how best to convince China to boost its currency to lessen the trade imbalance between China and the West.

Meanwhile, the rise of China as a global consumer as well as producer has compelled Northwest timber companies to boost exports of raw logs to China in unprecedented volumes. The Port of Astoria is negotiating a lease with Westerlund Log Handlers to develop a log exporting operation on the waterfront focusing on the Chinese market.

But while exporting raw logs to China may be a growing business, it creates few jobs in Oregon when compared to milling logs into lumber and then shipping them. In addition, many of the state’s top exporters have shifted manufacturing to China to capitalize on cheap labor. Oregon has lost about 60,000 manufacturing jobs over the past decade. An initiative to boost exports to China won’t necessarily bring those jobs back, but it may create different ones.

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 7 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS