Despite trade worries, Oregon exports continue to grow
New data from the U.S. Department of Commerce reveals that despite an uncertain U.S. trade environment, Oregon exports continue to grow. In 2018, the state exported $22.3 billion in goods to countries around the world — a 1.8% increase from 2017.
Oregon remains an important global trade partner on the West Coast, especially to countries across the Pacific Ocean. Five of Oregon's six top export countries—receiving at least $1 billion in Oregon exports—are in Asia: China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The second-largest trade partner in 2018 was Canada. Top exports last year included computers and electronics, machinery, chemicals, agriculture, and transportation equipment.
"Oregon's record trade numbers reflect our state's diverse manufacturing base, and the lasting partnerships we've built across the Pacific Rim," said Chris Harder, director of Business Oregon. "We're particularly pleased to see the growth not limited to one industry or destination country, but spread throughout, increasing revenue for exporters across the state of Oregon."
While trade tensions remain between the United States and Oregon's top trading partners, China and Canada, Oregon exports to both countries increased the most of any international partner in 2018 over the previous year.
China received $4.7 billion in Oregon exports, a 20% jump from the previous year. Only about one-third of Oregon exports to China are subject to proposed or enacted tariff increases, with electrical and industrial machinery — items not subject to tariffs — seeing some of the largest gains in trade.
Exports to Canada, which totaled $3.2 billion in 2018, saw more than 35% growth from 2017, rebounding in the past 18 months due to heavy manufacturing exports. Machinery, transportation equipment, and metals have historically accounted for half of all exports to Canada — a good sign for the state, as transportation equipment exports experienced a 69 percent increase last year.
"It's great news for Oregon's economy that exports continue to grow. Last year's gains are especially welcoming given the current global environment where the strong U.S. dollar, slower international growth, and increased trade tensions all work against U.S. exports," said Josh Lehner, senior economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.
--Submitted by the Port of Portland