International Economic Connections

As the premier global center for technology and service innovation and a major center of higher education, the Bay Area powerfully shapes and is shaped by the global economy. The Institute continually investigates how the Bay Area serves as an important business and cultural hub by being globally connected through foreign direct investment, links to other technology regions, large numbers of foreign students at its universities, and a globally diverse population. The level of connection between the Bay Area and China is unique in its depth and breadth, and China’s technological capacity in the coming years will profoundly impact not only competition and market opportunities in China, but global competition as well. The Bay Area’s Economic ties to Europe date back to California’s Gold Rush, and Europe continues to be an essential partner in shaping the region’s economic future. Cross investment with Europe is larger than with any other global region.



The consequences of ‘America First’ — a poorer, less secure U.S.

Sean Randolph, Senior Director of The Bay Area Council Economic Institute, recently published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle outlining the dangers America will face moving forward if it continues to alienate its global …


Chinese Innovation

This report was developed to shed light on a topic that will increasingly impact the US and world economies in the years to come: Is China innovative? Many continue to believe that China is adept at copying foreign technologies, but is not yet a technology and innovation leader. We found that this is an outdated perspective and that the course taken by China’s technological capacity in the coming years will profoundly impact not only competition and market opportunities in China, but global competition as well.

Nordic Dreams

This report discusses the entrepreneurial landscape of the five Nordic countries, and how and why the Nordic region has become a significant technology and innovation partner for the Bay Area and a leader in the two-way innovation process.

Innovation Bridge

Europe is a major economic presence in the Bay Area, through trade, investment, and people. More than any other area of the world, it enjoys strong ties to the region through technology and innovation, and in particular through startups. This report documents the startup bridge that connects the two regions.

The Real Impact of Trade Agreements

Recent political debate and the anxiety it has fueled have created an unfortunate—and inaccurate—impression that trade agreements are destroying manufacturing and killing US jobs. A look at the facts reveals a more complex story and points to a different conclusion.

How will ‘Brexit’ Impact the Bay Area?

Institute Senior Director Sean Randolph offers initial analysis of the historic vote in Britain to exit the European Union and its impact on the Bay Area economically. The full implications of Britain’s decision to leave …


Can Europe innovate a way out of its “Lost Decade”?

Long before the words “Grexit” or “Brexit” entered the popular lexicon, the economic news out of Europe was difficult. Since the 2008–9 recession, Eurozone countries have been treading water, bobbing up and down in the …


Don’t neglect Bay Area’s European ties in pursuit of Asian trade pact

Much of the news in international trade lately has been about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade negotiation of the United States with 28 Asian countries. Less attention has been given to the Trans-Atlantic …


Innovation Drivers

Trade, Investment and Invention

Economic Ties between Japan and the San Francisco Bay Area date back 150 years, to when the first diplomatic mission from Japan to the United States arrived in San Francisco. Since then, both Japan and the Bay Area have developed into two of the world’s leading technology hubs. This briefing paper continues the Economic Institute’s series of reports on the region’s business and economic links with major global partners.


Trade in the Bay Area

Made for Trade

The revenues of Bay Area companies increasingly come from global markets, and the Bay Area economy is intricately linked with global trade and financial flows. The Bay Area is on the cutting edge of technology, innovation and finance, handling $25 billion in exports in 2013. As technology continues to increase as a percentage of global trade, the Bay Area is well positioned to export to expanding future and emerging markets, especially in Asia. A report commissioned by HSBC in 2014 looks at international trade activity in the Bay Area, with a particular focus on technology, China, and the internationalization of China’s currency.


Europe and the Bay Area

The innovation economies of Europe and the Bay Area are becoming increasingly integrated and spurring new business growth in both regions of the world.

Ties That Bind

In this 2014 revised edition of its study on The San Francisco Bay Area's Economic Links to Greater China, the Economic Institute once again highlights the key market dynamics, deals, forms and innovators that form the close and lasting economic bond between the Bay Area and China.