The Busiest Docks You’ve Ever Seen are in Seattle

By August 16, 2010Trade

Full of exports, full of gear, full of shipments to last the year …

President Obama speaks Tuesday in Seattle to promote the economic value of exports, and it’s a great place to make the argument. As Seattle Times columnist Jon Talton recently blogged, “In ‘export nation,’ Seattle enjoys strong position“:

When I say that Seattle punches above its weight class, consider exports. According to a new report from the Brookings Institution, Seattle ranked No. 10 among the 100 largest metropolitan areas, with more than $24 billion in exports in 2008 and representing 2.3 percent of all metro exports. The competition above us includes New York, LA, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.

Seattle also had the 10th highest level of export-related jobs, 196,000. Obviously we can thank Boeing for much of this, which underscores the importance of the aerospace cluster here. The report found that transportation equipment exports from Seattle are 4.5 times larger in relation to its total economy than to the U.S. economy.

“Manufacturing industries are the most export oriented, so metropolitan areas that specialize in manufacturing tend to export the largest shares of their” gross metropolitan product, the report found.

Syndicated columnist Neil Peirce also cited Seattle when commenting on the Brookings study, while noting the export opportunities for such cities as Saginaw, Mich. See “Seattle a model of how the U.S. can boost its global trade profile.”

In reporting on the President’s five-state “barnstorming and fundraising trip,” NPR correspondent Scott Horsley sought to put the Seattle speech in context:

Remember, back in the State of the Union address, he set a goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. The reason for that is it’s a way to grow the domestic economy without having to rely on those overstretched American consumers. Unfortunately, the president got some bad news this past week, when the Commerce Department released new trade figures showing exports actually shrank in June, and the trade deficit widened. So not the direction the president wants those numbers to go in.

The National Association of Manufacturers has released a report, “Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years,” that outlines the aggressive steps that Congress and the Obama Administration must take to achieve the President’s goals.

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