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Japan Aftermath: Impaired Economy’s Affect on California

March 14, 2011

UPDATE MARCH 18, 2011: GM is temporarily closing temporarily a truck plant in Louisiana because it could not get enough Japanese-made parts, the first in what analysts say could be widespread disruptions at auto plants in North America because of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis half a world away.

For parts that are shipped by boat to North America, shortages could take about a month to materialize. But for lightweight, high-value parts like microchips that travel by plane, problems could crop up much faster.
Sourced from NY Times

I worked in the automotive parts business for 20+ years. Jaguar, Honda, and Toyota. I also worked in the automotive aftermarket where many parts are manufactured by Japan and sold through U.S. auto retailers. The main concern down the road will be parts availability for car repairs as U.S. inventory is used up AND parts to fill inventories at retailers. California does an immense amount of business with Japan, particularly in the automotive sector.

The department said California imported goods totaling $40.7 billion from Japan last year. Top imports from Japan are motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts (including tires) and a wide range of high-tech machinery and consumer electronics products.

California merchandise exports to Japan totaled $12.2 billion in 2010, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. In January this year, California shipped $1.04 billion in goods to Japan.

Golden State exports to Japan are primarily technology products and related components, but California also sends rice, fruits and nuts to the country. The Commerce Department said California accounted for 20.1 percent of all U.S. exports to Japan in 2010.

Trade analysts said Friday that the long-term effects on trade will be determined by the severity of the damage to key manufacturing facilities in Japan, and how long it takes to get them back up and running.

Source: Sacramento Bee

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