Where We’re Importing and Exporting

A glance at two maps – top import and expert country for each state in 2016 – reveals some interesting observations:

  • On the export side, Canada is the leading destination from 33 states (including Indiana and 25 of the other 31 east of the Mississippi River)
  • Mexico (six states) and China (four states) were next on the list
  • Among the more intriguing partnerships: Nevada’s exports are going to Switzerland
  • On the import side, nine countries are represented with China (23 states) and Canada (14 states) leading the way
  • Indiana and Oregon are the two states in which the lead importer is Ireland (Happy St. Patrick’s Day, by the way!)
  • Of Indiana’s four neighbors, China is tops in Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois, while Mexico (think auto industry) is the top partner with Michigan
  • Hawaii stands alone with its top partners of Indonesia (imports) and Australia (exports)

According to the American Enterprise Institute:

Last year, American companies sold $2.2 trillion worth of goods and services to buyers in other countries, and American companies and consumers purchased $2.7 trillion worth of imports from trading partners all around the world. Seven states – Michigan, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington and Texas – have their international trade represent more than 30% of their economic output.
Together, that volume of international trading activities represented 26% of the value of America’s $18.5 trillion in GDP in 2016. In terms of employment, more than 27 million American workers, about one in five, have jobs that are directly supported by trade with the rest of the world. Some states like California and Texas have more than two million jobs that are directly supported by international trade.

Deadline Time in Congress Again

The new fiscal year for the federal government begins October 1 and Congress has approved exactly none of the 12 annual spending bills. And next week is back to recess time.

So the "solution" is a stopgap bill this week to keep the government running. But in today’s world of not being able to agree on anything, there is dispute over this all-too-common emergency procedure. Some say there is not enough disaster aid in the proposal.

On a slightly more positive side, work is expected to begin on free trade bills with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The game plan is for the House to pass the bills, with the Senate taking them up after the recess. The question mark is how much trade adjustment assistance compensation will be tacked on — and whether that amount will threaten eventual passage.

There appears to be little momentum to address President Obama’s jobs bill and it is anticipated that the deficit reduction super committee will continue in the informal discussion phase.

Indiana Chamber members will be in D.C. Wednesday and Thursday for the organization’s annual Fly-in. Hopefully some good news will emerge from that visit.

Former U.S. Chamber Official to Lead Purdue Global Business Effort

Purdue is here to help Indiana communities that are interested in economic development with China. On Friday, more than 60 Indiana government and economic officials, including 13 mayors, as well as business and education representatives, attended the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China to learn more about Purdue resources.

We also announced Purdue’s new Global Business Engagement Initiative that charts a course for Purdue to be the state’s one-stop shop for learning about and conducting business with China, and other countries that we are identifying. Purdue expertise can help prepare interested Indiana firms and communities with big picture guidance, such as on market assessments, to the smaller details, like how to distribute and receive business cards. Mark Van Fleet, a former senior official from the United States Chamber of Commerce, will lead the initiative.

We had a waiting list for Friday’s roundtable, and unfortunately an early morning winter storm kept some people from attending, but the enthusiasm for this event is a great sign that officials throughout Indiana are interested in what Purdue can offer. The roundtable also prompted some thoughtful dialogue, and participants had the chance to direct their questions to Chinese investors from Wanxiang America and Nanshan America, as well as Guoqiang Yang, consul general of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago.

If you have specific questions about working with Purdue, please contact me,
Michael Brzezinski, interim dean of International Programs, at  [email protected].

More information is available: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110225BrzezinskiChina.html

Purdue is here for you, and we look forward to helping your business and our state become a more active player in today’s global economy.


Michael Brzezinski is interim dean of international programs at Purdue University.

PHOTO CAPTION: Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley speaks Friday (Feb. 25) during the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China at Purdue. Participating in the panel discussion, from left, were Monticello Mayor Jason A. Thompson, Larry Ingraham of the Sagamore Institute and Logansport Mayor Michael Fincher. During the event, Purdue announced it is launching the Global Business Engagement Initiative, which will leverage the university’s various Chinese and business resources to promote Indiana’s economic development on a global scale by generating trade and investment opportunities for Indiana firms and communities while simultaneously advancing Purdue’s learning and discovery missions. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock) 

Trade Ya!

One of the more positive recent federal developments was the signal that pending free trade agreements may be resurrected. Such deals are in place with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, with approval of the South Korea pact a logical place to start to boost a number of U.S. industries. The National Center for Policy Analysis offers:

The trade pact between the United States and South Korea, which would eliminate about 95 percent of tariffs on industrial and consumer goods within five years, has the usual advantages in promoting job-creating exports.  It would help domestic industries involved in telecommunications, technology, pharmaceuticals, farming and financial services gain access to an important market, say USA Today.

Even American manufacturing, a usual source of opposition to these types of deals, should have reasons to like this one. 

  • South Korea is a highly developed and educated nation with average wages approaching those in the United States and environmental standards that, in some cases, are more stringent.
  • What’s more, U.S. manufacturing, after decades of technology-driven productivity gains and related job losses, is highly competitive and showing signs of a rebound.
  • In large part this is a result of exports, which are healthy even as domestic consumption lags.

Another argument for the trade deal with South Korea is not economic but geopolitical.  A vibrant and prosperous South Korea is a check against the ambitions of the bizarre and belligerent regime to its north, says USA Today.

Who knows, this pact could be a harbinger of things to come, as an overly indebted U.S. economy begins to focus more on investment and savings, and sees trade with fast-growing emerging nations in Asia and Latin America as something to support, not fear.  In any case, ratification of the South Korea deal should be high on the Senate’s agenda for 2011.

Chao: Let’s Hope President Lives Up to Rhetoric on Open Trade

"As we go forward, we should embrace a collective commitment to encourage open trade and investment, while resisting the protectionism that would deepen this crisis." — President Barack Obama

Elaine Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, outlines her hope that the president’s actions live up to his words when it comes to free trade (the above quote is taken from an open letter he wrote for publishing just before the recent G-20 Summit). In a column penned for the Heritage Foundation, she contends that history has proven the inherent flaws in protectionism :

We have been down this road before. The Tariff Act of 1930, sponsored by Sens. Reed Smoot and Willis C. Hawley, is infamous for deepening and prolonging the Great Depression. When the Smoot-Hawley bill landed on President Herbert Hoover’s desk, more than 1,000 economists urged him to veto it. Tragically, the president ignored their pleas. Other nations retaliated, and America learned a painful lesson.

By 1932, U.S. exports to Europe were just one-third of what they had been in 1929. The precipitous drop claimed many jobs, contributing to the economic misery that saw the U.S. unemployment rate soar to 25.1 percent in 1933 from 7.8 percent in 1930. Americans did not suffer alone. World trade overall fell two-thirds in the first few years of the Depression.

Today it is apparent that some in Washington have forgotten that history or never bothered to learn it. Lawmakers at home, as well as abroad, are embracing protectionism for the 21st Century that threatens to make an already severe economic crisis even worse.

The World Bank recently reported that, since the beginning of the current economic crisis, countries around the world have enacted 47 measures that restrict trade at the expense of other nations. These instigators include the United States and 16 fellow members of the G-20 whosigned a pledge just four months ago to eschew protectionist measures.

She also claims Obama is off to a rough start, as he signed off on some protectionist measures included in the recent stimulus bill. Read the entire column and let us know what you think.