International container volumes through the Puget Sound rebounded strongly in 2015 with The Northwest Seaport Alliance handling more than 3.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), an increase of 4 percent. Container volumes grew despite the slowing Chinese economy and volume declines earlier in the year during West Coast labor negotiations.
For the first time in more than a decade, China's manufacturing competitiveness is wavering. A long term competitor for US manufacturer, China is faced with increasing competition from India and emerging Southeast Asian markets, China's rising labor costs and complex regulatory environment are triggering an exodus of manufacturing operations to more investor-friendly and cost-effective jurisdictions. Most notably, India and the 10- nation ASEAN bloc are setting the new bar for international manufacturing standards.
The US is Australia's fifth leading wood products supplier (following New Zealand, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, respectively), with Australia importing $99 million in wood products from the US in 2013. Leading product categories include softwood plywood, fabricated structural members, and windows. All of these product categories has continually increased, due to strong demand in Australia's housing market. While a small market, imports of prefabricated housing reached $506,000 in 2013