November 12, 2012: Parsing California's Re-Export Trade
Each month, the U.S. Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Division releases statistics on the merchandise export trade of the
individual states, broken down by manufactured goods, non-manufactured goods, and re-exports. For example, California's $13.22
billion merchandise export trade in August 2012 comprised $8.71 billion in manufactured products, $1.51 in non-manufactured
goods, and $3.00 billion in re-exports.
While California's overall merchandise export trade in 2011 exceeded, in real terms, the value of the state's merchandise
export trade in any year over the past decade and a half, the three components of the state's export trade have not been rising
Re-exports in California's merchandise export trade grew from an 11 percent share in 1996 to a 23 percent share in 2011. Over
the same period, the portion of the state's merchandise export trade involving non-manufactured exports (chiefly agricultural
products and raw materials) rose from 5 percent to 13 percent. Conversely, manufactured goods, which had accounted for 83
percent of the state's merchandise export trade in 1996, held only a 64 percent share in 2011. California's manufactured export
trade in last year lagged some four percent behind the level of the manufactured exports in the immediate pre-recession peak
year of 2008 and some sixteen percent below the previous high-water mark for the state's manufactured exports in 2000.
On a year-to-date basis through August, California's exports of manufactured products had a value (in constant 2005 dollars)
of $59.23 billion, 7.2 percent less than the $63.80 billion reported in the first eight months of 2008, and 12.2 percent below
the $67.43 billion recorded during the same period in 2000.