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

3 trends in the garden business

The Latest
Thursday, April 30, 2015
gardenthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Oregonians are scrambling to get their gardens in order for the summer. Here are three tips from landscaping and urban farming expert.


Read more...

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbcbcPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


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