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

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

The week journalism died

Linda Baker
Sunday, February 15, 2015
deadjournalismthumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


Read more...

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


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