Trade Critical to California in U.S. Economy


International trade has come under attack in the recent presidential election campaign, and it is important for all to understand the significance that trade provides to the economy.

Accordingly, promoting the ability of California companies to compete more effectively in foreign markets continues to be a high priority for the California Chamber of Commerce, along with attracting foreign business to the state.

California is one of the 10 largest economies in the world with a gross state product of more than $2 trillion. International trade and investment are major parts of the state’s economic engine that broadly benefits businesses, communities, consumers and state government.

California’s economy is diverse, and the state’s prosperity is tied to exports and imports of both goods and services by California-based companies, to exports and imports through California’s transportation gateways, and to movement of human and capital resources.

California Export Guide

As part of its trade promotion program, the CalChamber recently joined other organizations and companies in supporting the publication of the California Export Guide. The Guide aims to help California companies “go global” and is published by ThinkGlobal Inc. in partnership with the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at San Diego State University.

Publisher Greg Sandler notes in the opening letter to the Guide that California leads the nation in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), but continued growth in FDI and exporting “will require maximizing existing state, federal and private sector resources, and implementing new trade- and investment-related initiatives.”

In 2015, California exported to 229 foreign markets. Exports from more than 75,000 California companies supported more than 775,000 jobs.

Articles in the Guide provide information on subjects ranging from shipping and logistics to trade finance and international law.

Also included is a directory of international trade resources.

cal-guide-thumbnailThe Guide is available online at California.Think.Global. A Spanish version will be published shortly.

CalChamber Position

The CalChamber continues to support free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products and services abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business.

Although trade is a nationally determined policy issue, its impact on California is immense. Trade offers the opportunity to expand the role of California’s exports. In its broadest terms, trade can literally feed the world and raise the living standards of those around us.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

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Susanne T. Stirling, senior vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.