LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Foreign-owned companies directly employ 366,415 people in the six-county Southern California region, paying them wages of roughly $23.6 billion a year, according to a report released Friday by a trade-development organization.

The report prepared by the World Trade Center Los Angeles, in conjunction with the nonprofit Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., found that the 9,105 foreign-owned firms in the region have an overall economic impact that directly and indirectly sustains 8.1 percent of all jobs in Southern California.

“In this global economy, the L.A. region is uniquely suited and appealing to foreign investors,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis. “Our draw combined with our international connections result in jobs and economic opportunity that provide benefits locally and throughout Southern California.”

Japan is the biggest source of foreign-owned companies in the region, with 2,440 firms employing 79,403 people, followed by the United Kingdom with 1,145 companies and 54,910 employees. Rounding out the top 10 are Germany, France, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Australia.

The manufacturing sector has the most employees of foreign-owned business, with 116,721 workers, earning $6.8 billion in wages, according to the report.

The LAEDC today also released its annual International Trade Outlook report, which found that despite a 4.5 percent decline in 2015, China continues to be the largest trading partner of the United States and the Los Angeles Customs District, accounting for more than 40 percent of total trade with the LACD.

Trade volume at the San Pedro port complex grew by 1.3 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to the report, which predicted a 5 percent increase in container volume this year and 6 percent next year.

“While the trend has been a general slowdown in global trade, Southern California remains geographically favored as the primary gateway to the growing economies of Asia,” according to the report. “It remains to be seen whether threats of trade diversion to other West Coast ports — or to East Coast ports through the expanded Panama Canal — will materialize.”


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