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Tough ’08 and Outlook for SoCal International Trade

Following a rough 2008, Southern California’s international trade industry may be in for more challenges in 2009, according to the International Trade Trends & Impacts report prepared by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Los Angeles Customs District’s trade value increased 2.5 percent in 2008 to $356.1 billion. It retained its first place ranking in the U.S. for trade value. But New York’s district, which is ranked second, experienced a 9.3 percent increase to $353.6 billion. The number of containers handled at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach dropped 8.9 percent in 2008 to 14.3 million shipping containers. New York only experienced a 0.6 percent decline to 5.3 million containers. The Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex maintained its fifth place ranking among the world’s top ports. In 2008, the top local export commodity was computers, peripherals, machinery, appliances and parts. The top import was electrical equipment, TVs and electronic parts. Los Angeles Customs District’s top trading partner in 2008 was China. In 2009, the economies of Los Angeles Custom District’s top trading partners are expected to record declines. And there’s a call for environmental remediation in the industry. The report says Los Angeles and Long Beach are making progress in greening-up their ports. Eric Billingsley

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