California exports start 2017 strong


container shippingCalifornia exporters were off to a strong start in 2017, according to a Beacon Economics’ analysis of U.S. trade statistics released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Foreign shipments by California businesses totaled $13.27 billion in January, a significant increase over the $11.96 billion recorded in January 2016.

“The numbers continue to defy conventional expectations that a strong dollar would discourage exports,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ international trade adviser.

Here is a look at how export figures broke down:

  • Manufactured goods: $8.64 billion, up 10. 4 percent from January 2016
  • Non-manufactured goods (agriculture and raw materials): $1.59 billion, up 24.8 percent
  • Re-exported goods: $3.04 billion, up 6.4 percent

California accounted for 11.3 percent of the nation’s overall $117.71 billion merchandise export trade, Beacons said.

Top 5 export destinations

  • Mexico: $6.35 billion
  • China: $3.92 billion
  • Canada: $3.84 billion
  • Hong Kong: $2.89 billion
  • Japan: $3.08 billion


A purely economic forecast for California’s export trade through 2017 would be optimistic, Beacons said. President Trump has said he wants to get tough on trade policy but has offered few specifics which has led to uncertainty.

The president’s 2017 Trade Policy Agenda, released at the beginning of March, specifically targeted China, South Korea, Mexico, and Canada. The president has also claimed that Japan has taken unfair advantage of U.S. interests. Those countries are all primary export markets for California goods.

“Should the Trump Administration make good on some of its promises surrounding trade, it will do so on the backs of U.S. (and California) consumers and businesses,” Beacons said in its report.

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