International trade in L.A. County grows

LONG BEACH - According to a report prepared by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation's (LAEDC) Kyser Center for Economic Research, international trade in Los Angeles County and the value of two-way trade at the Los Angeles Customs District (LACD) showed a moderate rate of growth in 2011.The report, entitled "2011 International Trade Outlook, Southern California Region, 2012-2013," was delivered at the LAEDC's annual International Trade Outlook breakfast on Wednesday by the Kyser Center's Chief Economist Dr. Robert Kleinhenz. "Los Angeles County remains a globally competitive trade destination and has shown growth in several key areas over the past year. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stand out as the largest container shipping port complex in the United States, accounting for a total of 14.0 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually," stated Kleinhenz. "Both imports and exports grew at a moderate pace, Los Angeles Customs District handled $386 billion in two-way trade with our County's international trading partners, an increase of 11.5% compared to 2010." For the U.S., total trade should grow by 4 to 5% annually this year and next, following increases of 12% and 6% in 2010 and 2011. As the domestic economy expands, U.S. imports will grow approximately 4%, with export growth accelerating from 4% this year to 7% in 2013, in reaction to improvements in the global economy along with U.S. progress in reducing trade barriers and expanding trade. Guest speakers at the annual breakfast included regional public officials, trade and manufacturing experts, and representatives from the Port of Long Beach. Sean Strawbridge, the Port of Long Beach's Managing Director of Trade Development and Port Operations, provided an economic update on the Port. "We continue to be optimistic about the Port's growth in the long term and that's why we have committed $4.5 billion to modernizing our facilities over the next decade," said Strawbridge. "We are the premier gateway for transpacific trade, and to remain competitive we must make sure our facilities are second to none." Tom Mayor, Senior Executive Advisor at the management consulting firm Booz & Company who helps lead the Operations Strategy Practice, spoke to the importance of reviving the U.S. manufacturing industry. Mayor, co-author of the recent study, Manufacturing's Wake-up Call, has a deep cross-industry expertise in supply and manufacturing strategy and more than 20 years consulting experience. The study examines the four things necessary for manufacturing to thrive within the U.S. again. "The manufacturing base in the U.S. is at a pivotal moment in history," said Mayor. "Manufacturing has long been perceived as declining in the U.S., yet it continues to have an outsized impact on the health of the economy. Today the economics are increasingly compelling - most products consumed in the US can most profitably be made in the US. As a result, the US manufacturing sector is seeing a growing surge of re-shoring and foreign direct investment. Booz & Company's recent study in partnership with the University of Michigan's Tauber Institute for Global Operations addresses four key priorities to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing as a powerful engine in the U.S. economy." The International Trade Outlook report hinted at modest global trade growth in 2011 following large gains in 2010. Global trade in 2012-13 is expected to grow at a more subdued pace of 3% to 4%, as nations grapple with weak growth and debt problems in the advanced economies (including a recession in the euro zone), a slowdown in China and other emerging economies, and the ever present wild card, oil prices. China was still the LACD's largest trading partner in 2011, followed by Japan ($60.3 billion), South Korea ($27.7 billion), Taiwan ($20.2 billion), and Thailand ($11.8 billion). For each of these countries, the value of imports exceeded exports, and both exports and imports grew over last year. Despite record increases, LACD was edged out by the New York Customs District as the largest customs district nationally by value of two-way trade. LAEDC economist Ferdinando Guerra offered a special report entitled Growing Together: Korea & Los Angeles County, the latest in a country series by the LAEDC, outlining the value of trade with the growing Asian trade power. "As the leading gateway to the Pacific Rim, Los Angeles County has emerged as the center of Korean-American economic, business, educational and cultural exchanges," stated Guerra. "In terms of two-way trade value, this gateway relationship with translates into $27.7 billion, placing Korea as Los Angeles County's third largest trading partner. Transversely, our Los Angeles Customs District represents the largest national port destination for Korean trade, while Korea has become one of the largest sources of foreign direct investment in the County." Looking towards future growth and trade partnerships in the region, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) Senior Executive Vice President Sung-Kuen Oh highlighted the special relationship between the Korean and Los Angeles County communities, and the work underway to promote Korean trade throughout the Southern California region. "Last year, Korea ranked seventh in the world for total exports, and counts Los Angeles County as its largest U.S trading partner. Today, with 111 Korea Business Centers in 76 countries worldwide, KOTRA serves as a vessel through which foreign companies can conveniently cooperate with Korean companies. The LAEDC's Growing Together report demonstrates explosive growth in Korean international trade, up a full ten-thousand-fold from $100 million in 1951 to $1 trillion in just 60 years. The report also highlights the special relationship between Korea and the Los Angeles County business, trade, and investment communities. KOTRA will continue to bolster the Korean economy through trade and look for opportunities to strengthen ties with leaders and businesses in Los Angeles County and throughout the United States." For more information about the LAEDC's annual International Trade Outlook breakfast, visit

********** Published: May 17, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 05