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Economic News

Portland area ranks in top 50 in U.S. exporters

July 10,2015 | By Molly Harbarger, Oregonian

The Portland area is one of the top 50 export areas in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Portland area -- which includes Vancouver -- sent $18.7 billion in electronics, agricultural and other products to mostly Asian countries and Canada. The total is up 6 percent from 2013.

But with the loss of the Port of Portland's container terminal business, the metro area could fall when the 2015 numbers are released. It may be too early to say if Terminal 6's severed direct connections to Asia and Europe will weigh heavily on Oregon -- and Idaho and Washington -- exporters, but it is a concern big enough for state officials to invest money in fixing.

According to the Commerce Department report, U.S. metro areas sent $1.44 trillion worth of products abroad in 2014, a $36 billion jump from the year before. Only 11 percent of U.S. exports didn't come from metropolitan areas.

The federal release touted the White House's Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way to increase exports in the future, noting that countries with free-trade agreements with the United States are some of the Portland area's biggest trading partners. Those include China, Malaysia, Canada, Japan and Taiwan.

However, Oregon exporters who trade with these countries now have to send their products by truck or train to the Seattle and Tacoma ports or down to California ports, or by the more expensive air-freight option.

As is usually the case for Oregon, computer and electronic products, followed by agricultural products, machinery, transportation equipment and chemicals were the bulk of exported products.

mharbarger@oregonian.com
503-294-5923
@MollyHarbarger

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