''Made in China'' Is Big in Los Angeles
Import-driven two-way trade jumps almost 9% in 2002.
LOS ANGELES - China will be the Los Angeles' region's biggest trading partner this year and the outlook for the international trade industry in Southern California is better according to the recently issued "2003 International Trade Trends & Impacts" report.
The total two-way trade through the Los Angeles Customs District last year jumped 8.7% to a total of $232.9 billion, which is slightly higher than the previous peak level of $230 billion recorded in year 2000, the report said, adding that the bulk of the business will be found in imports, with a forecast gain of 10% to $188 billion.
According to the report, the Los Angeles Customs District's biggest import commodity last year was electric machinery with a value of $22.8 billion. A close second was motor vehicles with a value of $21.2 billion.
The District has reclaimed its number one ranking in the US based on trade value, with a total of $214.3 billion last year. The New York District came in second with a total of $209.8 billion.
CEO Barry Sedlik of the World Trade Center Association of Los Angeles-Long Beach (an affiliate of the LAEDC) said, that the increase in trade activity is consistent with the pace of inquiries coming into the Association's research department.
"The big surprise this year is China," he said. "2002 international trade data for Los Angeles shows that China surged into the number one spot in total two-way trade. Figures show China recorded a 22.5 percent gain over year 2001 figures totaling $55 billion. Previously, Number One Japan saw its total trade value with Los Angeles drop 8.1 percent to $41.9 billion."
The Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex ranked third in the world on the basis of containers handled in 2002, the report said. Last year the load-center ports handled a total of 10.7 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) making the so-called "Twin Ports" the busiest port complex in the country.
Ranked as the world's busiest containerport was Hong Kong with 19.1 million TEUs passing through its terminals last year. Singapore was the second busiest with 16.9 million.
The report found a number of major challenges to the region's international trade potential.
While SARS caused inconvenience for most local industries such as apparel, furniture and small electronics, a continued problem with SARS could cause some changes in business operation, it said.
Other challenges, the report concluded include restoring trust in the West Coast ports following the work stoppage last year that temporarily crippled the region's economy; finding tangible solutions to remediate the impact of cargo security issues on costs and transit times; addressing ongoing environmental problems; improving the status of the region's overtaxed transportation infrastructure; and an "ad hoc," piecemeal approach towards these "key" issues.
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