Economic lessons from 9/11

Economic lessons from 9/11

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(AP file photo)

SALT LAKE CITY -- It's the eighth anniversary of the largest terrorist attack on American soil.

The planners of the attack may have tried to permanently cripple international trade, but World Trade Center Utah Director Lew Cramer says the attack sparked a growth, and Utah is taking advantage.

"I could cite a lot of numbers about what's happening in the Intermountain West, but Utah is leading the pack as far as growth in international trade and business," Cramer said.

World Trade Center Utah was opened on the fifth anniversary of the attack as a memorial to the people killed. Cramer says the state was trading with nearly 130 countries before Utah's center opened, but that number went up in just the last three years.

"We estimate we trade with about 155 countries around the world in Utah," he said.

Exports from Utah to other countries have increased over 50 percent since 2006. Trade to China has tripled since then.

What's behind the growth? Cramer says it's possible some countries started trading with the U.S. out of sympathy after the attack, but Utah has been able to capitalize on international exposure from the 2002 Olympics. Also, the more international officials learn about the Beehive State, the more they seem to like it.

"We have solid research universities. We've got a motivated workforce. We have more students learning Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Arabic in [grades] K-12 than any other state in the union per capita," Cramer said.

In all, Cramer says roughly one-third of Utah's economy is based on international trade.

"In cities where there are World Trade Centers, exports are up 270 percent over areas where they aren't there," he said.

Cramer says for 100 years Utah's primary exports have been metals, but high-tech and life science product exports have doubled in the past couple years.


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Paul Nelson


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