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Chair's Blog

2015: The Year of Trade in Oregon January 2015
By Debbie Kitchin

There are a lot of important and exciting issues on the agenda for the Portland Business Alliance in 2015, including a major focus on investing in international trade and trade-related infrastructure in our region. In partnership with the Pacific Northwest International Trade Association (PNITA) and the Port of Portland, the Alliance is launching a year-long campaign – Trade in Oregon - to raise awareness for the power of trade to transform Oregon’s economy.

International trade, in particular, is a bright spot in Oregon and supports hundreds of thousands of family-wage jobs. Our 2013 Value of Jobs report on international trade found that 490,000 Oregon jobs are directly or indirectly supported by international trade and, in 2012, $18 billion in goods were exported from Oregon. It may also be a surprise to know that about 90 percent of Oregon exporters are small- to medium-sized businesses.

Through this campaign, we want to bring attention to the fact that international trade in Oregon is happening in all different industries and because of our geographic location, is something at which our state is uniquely situated to excel. Oregon companies, including many Alliance members, are exporting everything from computer chips to lumber to wheat. Many Oregon businesses depend on imports like steel and auto parts. In fact, Portland is the fifth largest auto import gateway in the nation.

Through a year-long campaign consisting of advocacy, events, digital communication, and grassroots outreach, we will tell the story of international trade and how it benefits the economy and the community. Our goal is to educate, rally support, and build understanding around international trade in Oregon, while also calling action to our elected and thought leaders and encourage them join the conversation as advocates.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our recently re-vamped international trade website at, where you can sign-up for newsletters and stay updated on the campaign. Also, join the international trade conversation on social media by using #tradeinOR.

I wish everyone a prosperous 2015.
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