Sizing up Pacific Rim shows huge potential

A recently released study by the California Department of Commerce, labeled ``Facts on the Pacific Rim,'' calls attention not only to increasing United States trade with countries on the Pacific's periphery but also to the future economic potential of the region. Including the US, some 28 countries border the Pacific Rim (the report excluded the Soviet Union because of incomplete data), harboring 43 percent of the world's population. California accounts for 1 percent of the region's population.

In 1970, this area accounted for 43.7 percent of the gross world product. And by 1995, according to the report, this figure will increase to an estimated 46.7 percent. Expected economic growth among the 27 Pacific Rim countries, excluding the US, is even greater: 21.3 percent in 1970, against a projected 27.5 percent in 1995.

The Pacific Rim -- which includes Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, and Latin America -- forms a $3 trillion-a-year market.

California -- almost alone among leading importing-exporting states -- stands to capitalize on increased commerce with Pacific Rim countries by virtue of its location and its well-developed trading facilities. Already the state does $65 billion worth of business in the Pacific Basin area and is a gateway for 78 to 85 percent of Pacific Rim export-import traffic.

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