MN Cos. Set New Export Record in 2012: $20.6B

MN Cos. Set New Export Record in 2012: $20.6B

The value of Minnesota’s exports rose $246 million in 2012, an increase of 1.2 percent and enough to set another annual record; the state’s top export category was machinery.

Minnesota reported another record year for exports in 2012, as the value of the state’s exports of agricultural, mining, and manufactured products climbed 1.2 percent to $20.6 billion, according to data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Last year’s exports topped the previous record of $20.3 billion, which was set in 2011, by $246 million.

Canada was the state’s largest national market; export sales to the country rose 2.7 percent to $6 billion and accounted for 29 percent of the state’s total exports. Other key export markets were China, where sales totaled $2.5 billion, up 7.1 percent; Mexico ($1.3 billion, up 6.7 percent); South Korea ($707 million, up 0.8 percent); Belgium ($640 million, up 2.7 percent); and Taiwan ($489 million, up 0.1 percent). Other key export industries include electrical machinery; plastic; aircraft and spacecraft; meat; iron and steel products; paper and paperboard; grains, seeds, and fruit; cereals; and iron and steel.

Like in 2011, the state’s top export category was machinery, which climbed 2.2 percent to generate $4 billion in sales. It was followed by optic and medical instruments ($3.1 billion, up 10.4 percent); vehicles ($1.9 billion, up 10.4 percent); Ores, slag, and ash ($668 million, up 68.5 percent); food waste ($516 million, up 6.8 percent); and mineral fuels and oil ($502 million, up 15.6 percent).

“Minnesota exports have been on a record-setting pace for more than two years and have contributed to new jobs and investment in our state,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement. “This growth signifies an opportunity for Minnesota and Minnesota businesses, and it is critical that we continue to build on this success.”

Minnesota’s export activity, however, ranked only 20th among states—and Sieben said that a $1.5 million “Global Competitiveness Initiative” outlined in Governor Mark Dayton’s budget proposal would help ensure the state remains competitive.

Dayton’s plan includes $540,000 to open three new trade markets, $600,000 in increased funding for a grant program that helps small businesses participate in trade activities, and $360,000 for a new marketing campaign aimed at conveying to foreign markets the benefits of conducting business in Minnesota.

DEED also pointed to two other efforts aimed at increasing the state’s exports: the “MSP Export Initiative,” which Dayton announced last year and includes a strategy aimed at doubling Twin Cities exports by 2017, and a Dayton-led trade mission to Germany, Sweden, and Norway that is scheduled for June.

DEED also emphasized the importance of exports to the state’s labor force: Manufacturing exports support nearly 115,000 Minnesota jobs, the agency said.

To download the 2012 DEED export report, as well as quarterly data, click here.