“In the past year, imports through Long Beach and Los Angeles are down nearly 10 percent as the national economy slows and consumers buy less.”

Rising global wages may cut imports, add U.S jobs
TRADE: Economist thinks trend will end double-digit growth at West Coast ports as manufacturers return.
By Kristopher Hanson, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 10/06/2008 12:00:00 AM PDT

Has Southern California experienced its last major surge in international trade?

With energy costs rising, the global economy losing steam and U.S. exports forecast to begin a long, slow decline in coming months, the days of regular double-digit growth in volume through West Coast ports may be history.

Under a scenario advanced by noted economist Paul Bingham, international trade is poised to undergo a paradigm shift in coming years, shaped by rising energy prices and growing wage rates in Asia.

According to Bingham, these factors may eventually offset much of the savings importers now enjoy by moving manufacturing and production overseas.

And if the trend holds, manufacturers could move production closer to end markets to save on higher shipping and production costs, leading to a long-term softening in the volume of imports through trade gateways like Long Beach and Los Angeles.


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