I can’t remember a time when there was more concentrated focus on expanding the international reach of our economy. In 2014, Oregon exported $21 billion in goods. Government statistics don’t track the export of services such as architectural design or engineering, so the figure is likely closer to $30 billion if you add the two together.
We’re also attracting a record level of Foreign Direct Investment – foreign firms setting up shop here to design, manufacture, or sell goods and services. Greater Portland, Inc., a truly talented group pushing to expand the region’s economy, is working closely with the Portland Development Commission on Greater Portland Global. This is a focused effort to grow exports while recruiting more foreign firms to the region.
Do you know how many foreign firms are already here? Check out this one-of-a-kind interactive map developed by GPI and Metro. You won’t see a tool like this anywhere else in the country.
Oregon trade supports half a million jobs – jobs that pay higher wages than those disconnected from the global economy. In a state that is both trade-dependent and income tax-dependent, this is a win-win. We can take advantage of our international success while ensuring adequate funding for vital government services like education and public safety.
Our firm has spent years in the international community here as part of our work with the Portland Business Alliance and Pacific Northwest International Trade Association. After seeing our nation’s trade agenda stall out since the 2011 passage of the South Korea-U.S. trade agreement, Congress seems poised to get back in the game.
To make sure that our congressional delegation understands the economic importance of expanding trade opportunities for the region, the Portland Business Alliance and its advocacy partners are making 2015 the Year of Trade. It’s a way to underscore this message publicly at every opportunity.
We’re confident that our nation’s leaders will hear this message and enact new agreements that open markets while protecting intellectual property, workforce conditions and the environment.