David Crane, Special Advisor to the Governor for Jobs and Economic Growth
Jobs and foreign trade were front of mind for Governor Schwarzenegger today when he visited the cavernous aircraft maintenance hangar that United Services operates at San Francisco International Airport. The Governor was there to recognize a series of new aircraft maintenance contracts with foreign airlines. The contracts have helped the United Airlines subsidiary restore 128 high-paying mechanics jobs to the facility-and likely another 75 by year’s end-and avoid eliminating 300 existing jobs. The contracts with Korean Air, Quantas and Air China help underscore the vital role of global trade in strengthening California’s economy and growing jobs. The Governor’s work in promoting California products and services to the world and expanding California’s global trade fulfill a pledge he made while campaigning in 2003 when he promised to be the state’s super salesman. Since that time, the Governor has traveled to Japan in 2004 and China in 2005 on highly productive trade missions to sell California products and services. Trade missions are critical to keeping California competitive in the large global marketplace. Simply standing on California’s place as the nation’s leading trade portal isn’t sufficient. California must be proactive in building relationships abroad and helping California businesses identify opportunities for entering new foreign markets and expanding existing markets. The Governor reiterated his pledge this past July in an address to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco where he said, “I will go anywhere in the world, to sell California products, to offer our high-tech and environmental know-how, to promote tourism, to sell our agricultural products and our unbelievable wine. This is part of my commitment to bring back California’s economy.” To that end, Governor Schwarzenegger has scheduled a trade mission to Mexico later this year. Mexico is California’s largest trading partner. There is too much at stake for California’s economy not to actively promote our products and services abroad and encourage foreign investment here. A million California jobs are tied to California trade and exports. Another half million are tied to investment by foreign companies in California and U.S. firms. Consider, too, that nearly a fifth of all U.S. foreign trade passes through California and that more than 40 percent of the nation’s total container cargo is handled by California ports. Governor Schwarzenegger knows we must continue to promote California to the world and that there are many more trade opportunities for the more than 60,000 California companies that are exporting goods and services globally. And good stories like those at United Services help reinforce why growing foreign trade will continue to be one of the Governor’s highest priorities.