Pacific power

The United States sits between Europe and Asia, but traditionally our focus and ties have been in Europe. Now many say our future focus and ties will be in the other direction – to Asia. North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden explains why.

“I think a big reason is economic growth. In the last decade the United States has been growing economically at about 2 percent per year. That’s per capita. That’s just before inflation. Europe has hardly grown at all. Europe has really been stagnated. But Asia is growing over twice as fast as the US – about 5 percent per year per capita after inflation.

“And futurists think these trends will continue. They think the big growing markets of the future in the coming decades will be in Asia, not in Europe. Now this will favor the West Coast of the United States. However, with the coming expansion of the Panama Canal, the East Coast will also see benefits from this in terms of trade. So I think the bottom line here is we’re not going to shun Europe, and in fact probably the biggest part of our trade will continue to be with Europe. But the growth will be in trade with Asia, both in terms of exports with growing Asian markets as well as imports.”

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