Pacific Rim Report: China bounces back
January 01, 2013
Across the Pacific, indications are that China’s economy is once again on an upward swing. China, together with Hong Kong and Macao, currently accounts for 13.4 percent of California’s merchandise export trade.
But weakening economic conditions in several key foreign markets and outright recessions in others led to mixed results for California exporters late last year, according to an analysis by Beacon Economics.
On a decidedly more positive note for California’s economy, exports of manufactured and non-manufactured goods were up in real as well as nominal terms.
The latest forecast from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development projects Canada’s economy will have grown by 1.5 percent in the final three months of 2012, and will advance only 1.8 percent in 2013. That projection is half a point below the Bank of Canada’s official forecast. Canada accounts for nearly 11 percent of California’s export trade.
The outlook is more optimistic south of the border where the new Mexican government is forecasting a gross domestic product growth of 3.5 percent in 2013. Mexico is benefiting from a surge in foreign direct investment, especially in the automotive sector.
New day in Oakland
Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland, the West Coast’s largest outbound ocean cargo gateway, is taking comprehensive and decisive action that demonstrates a new era of transparency and accountability.
Specifically, the port is:
-Releasing the Port Purchasing Card Audit dated July 2012 as originally presented to the Board.
-Releasing the investigative report conducted by independent outside counsel, Arnold & Porter, which looked at specific improper expenditures and the Port’s overall expense policies.
-Moving forward on a comprehensive plan to prevent improper expenditures going and strengthen the port’s culture of compliance.
In addition, the port announced that James Kwon has agreed to retire as Maritime Director last December. “It’s a new day at the port,” acknowledges Board President Gilda Gonzales. “While the vast majority of what was uncovered was an organization of people doing their jobs ethically and responsibly, we also found out-dated policies, a few irresponsible actions, and a few isolated cases of improper expenditures.”
Seattle making moves
Change is in the air at The Port of Seattle as well. Last December, the port’s commission approved a 25-year plan designed to help create 100,000 new jobs in the region, spur economic growth and reduce the port’s environmental footprint.
The “Century Agenda” program sets four strategies for the port to pursue with its business partners and stakeholders, and four regional initiatives that identify near-term opportunities for regional coalitions.
“The program builds on the 100-plus year role the port has played in creating economic growth for the Puget Sound region and the state of Washington,” says commissioner John Creighton. Among the strategies and objectives, the Century Agenda calls for:?
-Positioning the Puget Sound region as an international logistics hub, in part by increasing annual container volume to more than 3.5 million units and tripling the value of outbound cargo to more than $50 billion.
-Ensuring Seattle operates “green” by implementing a multi-faceted approach to reduce energy use, air pollutants, carbon emissions and storm water runoff, such as by cutting air pollutants and carbon emissions from all port operations by 50 percent from 2005 levels.
-Strengthening access to global markets and supply chains for Pacific Northwest businesses.
-Establishing an educational consortium to serve the maritime industry’s needs for workforce development, applied research and business growth.
-Fostering a coordinated effort between Puget Sound ports to support Washington state’s efforts to establish a healthier region.
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