Southern California growing as global trade hub: report

09:04, May 13, 2010      

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International trade traffic through Southern California will increase by more than 10 percent this year after a couple of dismal recessionary years, but trade- related employment won't begin to grow again until 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, quoting a study released by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp (LACEDC).

"The number of containers moved at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will grow by 10.2 percent in 2010, while the total value of two-way trade through the Los Angeles Customs District should increase by 9 percent to 308.5 billion U.S. dollars," said Nancy Sidhu, the chief economist with the private business promotion group.

The report covers the Los Angeles Customs District, which is the nation's busiest sea and airport complex and a vital economic resource for Southern California. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the main contributors to its numbers followed in significance by Los Angeles International Airport, which is fifth among U.S. airports and 13th internationally in the trade it handles.

Much smaller players are Ontario International Airport, Port Hueneme, McCarran Airport in Las Vegas and several oil terminals, the newspaper said.

The customs district handled 283 billion U.S. dollars in imports and exports and supported 482,500 jobs in 2009 -- the worst year of the global recession.

"The last two years were very tough for the Los Angeles gateway, " LACEDC's another key economist Jack Kyser said. "The good news is that we are back on a growth path. But it will take at least a couple of years to get back to the kind of business we had in 2006. "

The value of trade will increase by 8 percent to 309 billion U. S. dollars, the report predicted. But cautious employers will be slow to hire in 2010, with the first significant gain of about 15, 000 jobs coming in 2011, LACEDC predicted in its study.

It also noted a shake-up in the Southern California's roster of top trading partners, the Times said.

China continued to be the top trading partner for the Los Angeles Customs District in 2009, with total two-way trade of 155. 3 billion U.S. dollars. The 7.3 billion in business with Vietnam in 2009 was good enough to move it from the 11th spot to No. 8 on the L.A. foreign trade list. That helped knock Germany -- which had been the last European nation in the top 10 -- down to 11th.

The top export commodity category out of the district in 2009 was computers, peripherals, machinery, appliances and parts, with a value of 12.5 billion U.S. dollars.

The top two import categories were computers, peripherals, machinery, appliances and parts; and electrical equipment, televisions and electronic parts, both with a value of 48 billion U.S. dollars, the newspaper reported.



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