Once the nation's top exporting state, California has been losing ground for a decade. California's export rank has fallen to fifth place, behind Texas, Alabama, Florida and Pennsylvania. Last year, Texas exported $249 billion in goods and services, compared the Golden State's $159 billion. This report from the Milken Institute charts a path for how the state can reverse the trend.
California's export advantages are still considerable, including the largest economy of any state, the largest manufacturing base, robust agricultural production and its role in technology and design. But the lack of a coherent trade policy, combined with a lack of export growth in many of California's key sectors, has sent the state's economically crucial exports into a free fall. California's export growth rate since 1998 has been less than half the U.S. national average.
The report makes a number of recommendations to boost the Golden State's exports:
1. Take advantage of existing export promotion resources.
2. Create a synchronized export promotion agency.
3. Leverage private-sector expertise.
4. Open more, but carefully-selected, trade offices abroad.
5. Build a comprehensive performance measurement system for export-promotion efforts.
6. Take advantage of national and local programs supporting export promotion.
7. Develop an effective and comprehensive trade-promotion strategy.