With domestic demand crippled, the U.S. needs to reorient our economy to take advantage of rising global demand. Together, Brazil, India and China (the BICs) accounted for about a fifth of the global GDP in 2009, surpassing the United States for the first time. By 2016, the BIC share will grow to more than 27 percent.
U.S. goods and services can meet the demand coming from these and other rising economies. But we have work to do to restructure our economy. In 2010, exports made up only 13 percent of the GDP of the U.S., compared to 46 percent in Germany, 30 percent in China and Canada, and higher levels in India, the UK, and the EU.
As Brookings' Export Nation report showed last year, cities and metropolitan areas will lead the internationalization of the U.S. economy.
Our nation's top 100 metros -- home to two-thirds of our population and producing three-quarters of our GDP -- dominate our trade in goods and services. Given their edge in sectors like chemicals, computers and consulting, they are also on the front lines of commerce with China, Brazil and India.
The nation's four largest exporting metros, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, are supersized performers, exporting more than $50 billion apiece in 2008. Other major metros (Dallas, San Francisco, Detroit) are also global players, exporting more than $26 billion apiece that year. In ten smaller and medium sized metros (Wichita, Portland, and Youngstown), exports contribute more than 15 percent of gross metropolitan product.