Exports of California-Made Products Up, Re-Exports Fall by 20%

Exports of goods produced by California manufacturers and farmers increased by 3.6% compared to the same period last year, according to the latest international trade report by Beacon Economics.


The report, which analyzed trade data from August to October 2019, found that shipments of manufactured goods rose 3.3% to $9.77 billion from $9.46 billion, and exports of nonmanufactured goods (mainly the state’s agricultural products and raw materials) increased 5.0% to $2.31 billion, up from $2.20 billion.

Other trade areas, however, declined over the same period as last year. California businesses exported $15.48 billion in merchandise, a 3.0% decline from the $15.96 billion exported last year.

Dragging down the state’s overall export trade number was a 20.7% collapse in re-exports, which fell to $3.41 billion from $4.30 billion.

The declining numbers were mirrored by a 3.5% drop in the number of loaded export containers from the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland. Export airfreight tonnage at Los Angeles International airport declined 9.6% from last October.

“The real take-away here is the remarkable growth in the value of exported goods that are produced by California manufacturers and farmers. Yes, there was a sizable drop in re-exported merchandise, but October’s numbers for ‘domestic exports’, which are actually produced by California businesses, were up 3.6% over last October’s figures,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Advisor. “By contrast, U.S. exports of such domestically-produced merchandise slipped by 2.4%.”


California was the state-of-destination for 16.6% of all U.S. merchandise imports in October, with a value of $36.40 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure is down 12.2% from the $41.46 billion in goods imported to the state one year earlier.

According to the Beacon Economics’ report, last October’s import numbers were exceptionally high as importers rushed to get ahead of higher tariffs the White House was threatening to impose on a wide range of Chinese goods that December.

International Trade

Mexico retained its status as California’s leading export destination, although shipments south of the border sagged by 11.3% to $7.22 billion from $8.14 billion last year. Canada held second place, despite seeing its imports from California slide by 9.0% to $4.30 billion from $4.72 billion. In second place, exports to China rose 5.0% to $3.91 billion from $3.74 billion. Japan came fourth with imports of California goods totaling $3.03 billion, down 6.5% from $3.74 billion last year.

Hong Kong rounded out the roster of California’s Top Five export markets in the latest three-month period even though its imports from California fell 14.0% to $2.27 billion from $2.65 billion.

Trade Report

To read Beacon Economics’ full trade report, visit https://beaconecon.com/publications/california-trade-report/#california_imports.

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