MN Cos. Export Record $5.3B in Goods During Q2

Later this month, Governor Mark Dayton and representatives from several Minnesota companies and colleges will set out on a trade mission to Minnesota's sixth-largest export market-South Korea.

Minnesota companies exported a record $5.3 billion worth of products out of the country during the second quarter of 2011-representing a 12 percent year-over-year increase, according to data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Of the three major export categories-manufacturing, agriculture, and mining-manufacturing dominated during the quarter; manufactured exports accounted for $4.7 billion in sales during the period, up 10 percent from last year's second quarter.

“This is great news that shows Minnesota is continuing the momentum that began last year and carried through our record first quarter,” DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips said in a statement. “Strong exports are contributing to business growth and creating jobs in Minnesota.”

Canada was Minnesota's largest export market during the quarter, accounting for $1.6 billion in sales, which represented an 18 percent jump from last year's second quarter.

According to DEED, the top export markets were China ($568 million, up 21 percent), Japan ($384 million, up 43 percent), Mexico ($304 million, up 25 percent), Belgium ($207 million, up 25 percent), and Germany ($196 million, down 9 percent).

Governor Mark Dayton will soon lead a trade mission to South Korea, Minnesota's sixth-largest export market during the second quarter; $193 million worth of goods was shipped to the country during that period.

Companies accompanying him on the trade mission, which will take place from September 25 through October 1, include South St. Paul-based start-up EarthClean and Minneapolis-based Rani Engineering. EarthClean, which won the 2010 Minnesota Cup competition, aims to impress Korean professionals with its certified biodegradable and nontoxic gel that's used to fight wildfires. And Rani Engineering CEO Susan Rani seeks to explore Korea's railway system in an attempt to attract new business for her firm. Several post-secondary institutions are also going on the trade mission in the hopes that they'll attract Korean students to study in Minnesota: the University of Minnesota Law School, St. Cloud State University, and Globe University.

The top export category in the second quarter was machinery, of which $1 billion worth of goods was sent out of the state-representing a 2 percent decrease from a year ago. Other major export categories were optic and medical instruments ($729 million, up 1 percent), electrical machinery ($698 million, up 22 percent), vehicles ($408 million, up 24 percent), plastics ($296 million, up 3 percent), and cereals ($197 million, up 296 percent).

The machinery category was driven by electrical machinery, which grew 22 percent over the past year to $698 million in exports for products such as industrial furnaces, integrated circuits, and telecommunications equipment.

The big boost in cereal exports was led by Japan, where sales from Minnesota companies were up 57 percent from a year ago, mostly due to an increase in corn shipments.