Oregon's economy is heavily dependent on foreign trade, which means President Donald Trump's pugilistic trade policies toward China, the state's leading export market, make this state vulnerable.
But new figures released today by the Port of Portland show that despite saber-rattling and the imposition of tariffs, Oregon's exports to China and other trading partners increased last year.
"China received $4.7 billion in Oregon exports, a 20 percent jump from the previous year," the Port said in a statement. "Only about one-third of Oregon exports to China are subject to proposed or enacted tariff increases, with electrical and industrial machinery—items not subject to tariffs—seeing some of the largest gains in trade." (That's markedly different from the exports from the U.S. as a whole to China, which increased less than 1 percent on the year.)
"Exports to Canada, which totaled $3.2 billion in 2018, saw more than 35 percent growth from 2017, rebounding in the past 18 months due to heavy manufacturing exports."
Overall, exports from the state increased only 1.8 percent for 2018, according to federal figures, which means shipments to other places dropped significantly. Exports of computers and electronics, about a third of of what Oregon sends to other countries, dropped for the second year in a row.
But overall, the news was good.
"In a trade-dependent state like ours, we rely on strong trading partnerships to help Oregon farmers feed the world and local businesses continue to grow," said Curtis Robinhold, executive director of the Port of Portland in a statement. "With small- or medium-sized businesses making up nearly 90 percent of all exporters in Oregon, it is promising to see trade activity expand—contributing to a more equitable and prosperous region for all."