MN Exports Slowed in First Half of ’12, Growing 1.7%

Minnesota companies would reportedly need to boost exports at a rate of nearly 15 percent each year in order to achieve Governor Dayton’s goal to double the value of exported items by 2017.

Minnesota’s exports grew 1.7 percent to $10.3 billion during the first six months of 2012, according to data released Wednesday by the International Trade Administration.
 
While the dollar value of the exports represents a record sum for the first half of the year, the growth rate was less significant compared to the first half of last year.
 
In the first six months of 2011, exports grew 12.3 percent as compared to the same period in 2010. And the state’s exports grew 22.9 percent in the first half of 2010 as compared to January through June of 2009.
 
For the 2011 calendar year, Minnesota exports totaled $20.3 billion, up 7.5 percent from 2010.
 
The biggest categories for the first half of this year were computer and electronic products, which accounted for 19.2 percent of Minnesota’s exports, followed by machinery (17.8 percent), transportation equipment (9.8 percent), and manufactured commodities (8.3 percent).
 
In March, Governor Mark Dayton announced an initiative that aims to increase exports from Twin Cities-area companies from $17.6 billion in 2010 to $35 billion by 2017.
 
A Star Tribune report pointed out that in order to meet that goal, Minnesota companies would need to boost exports at a rate of nearly 15 percent each year.
 
Katie Clark, director of the Minnesota Trade Office, told the Minneapolis newspaper that although the goal represents a “high standard,” it is feasible.
 
“We think it’s possible, and we’re hard at work making sure that we’re supporting small and mid-sized companies to try to reach that level,” Clark reportedly said.
 
Clark attributed the slower growth this year to weakened demand in the financially unstable European Union. But she also pointed out to the Star Tribune that exports to Canada, China, and Mexico were strong in the second quarter and said any growth is positive.
 
The Minnesota Trade Office will release a second-quarter export report later this month that’s more detailed than what the International Trade Administration just released.