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L.A. Doesn't Deserve Fortune's Disfavor

November 13, 1994

Well, Fortune magazine has given the back of its hand to Los Angeles again ("Best for Business," Oct. 26). In its latest ranking of the world's best cities for international business, Los Angeles didn't make it into the Top 10. However, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami did.

But Fortune seems to be losing its grip. If you look at the small profile tables for each city, Fortune has lost things. They give the full Metropolitan Statistical Area population for New York, but Los Angeles is credited with just the population of the city. Fortune has lost the rest of the county, including Long Beach, which has the nation's largest container port. Fortune has also lost things in San Francisco, giving that city's population but leaving out the rest of the area, including San Francisco International Airport and the Port of Oakland.

Fortune starts its profile of Los Angeles with such tired cliches as "earthquake, riot and 511 miles of crowded freeway are all deficits." They have lost the 300-plus miles of operating mass transit in the Los Angeles area. Nor does Fortune give us credit for the vast support network for international trade in the area, including the Export Small Business Development Center, and the Greater Los Angeles World Trade Center in Long Beach.

And, finally, Fortune seems to overlook the 219,000 business firms in Los Angeles County, many of which are busy exploring international trade opportunities.

However, we may yet have the last laugh on Fortune. According to "FT 920," published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the first eight months of 1994, the total value of two-way international trade in the New York Customs District is $91.6 billion. In the Los Angeles Customs District, the eight-month cumulative total is $92.8 billion. Doing international trade well may be the best revenge.

JACK KYSER

Chief Economist

Economic Development Corp.

Los Angeles

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