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State exports, imports hit new marks in 2010
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ATLANTA—Georgia’s exports and imports grew in numbers and value during 2010, reaching new milestones of growth in international trade. The state’s total value of goods exported from Georgia in 2010 exceeded $28.7 billion, the most Georgia has ever exported in a single year. Georgia’s imports experienced a 27.11 percent increase compared to 2009, higher than the overall national increase of 22.6 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released this month.

“These figures are more than statistics: they mean more opportunities for Georgia companies and thus more job creation,” said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “With the fastest-growing port in the country and a proactive trade team, it’s no accident our numbers are growing. Prioritizing the proposed deepening of the Savannah Ports will only add to our companies’ trade successes.” 

Exports increased 20.89 percent over 2009, ranking Georgia 12th among U.S. states in dollar value of exports. In the past 10 years, Georgia exports have grown nearly 100 percent, and have increased to most of the state’s top ten export markets. Canada, China, and Mexico remained Georgia’s top three export destinations. Japan and Germany each moved up a notch into fourth position and fifth positions and Brazil moved from ninth to seventh, while the U.K. dropped from fourth to sixth.

Among Georgia’s top 10 export destinations, the largest increases were in exports to Brazil (44 percent), Mexico (43 percent) and China (35 percent). Georgia ranked seventh among U.S. states in dollar value of exports to Hong Kong and ninth in exports to Brazil, China and Singapore. By region, Georgia’s leading export destinations were the Americas (36 percent), Asia (33 percent) and the European Union (21 percent). Canada alone accounted for 17 percent of Georgia’s exports.

 Leading products exported

Georgia’s leading export industries ranked by dollar value were machinery, aircraft/spacecraft, electrical machinery, non-railway vehicles, wood pulp, optical/medical instruments, paper and paperboard, plastics, meat and chemical products. These 10 industry sectors accounted for 70 percent of Georgia’s exports. Georgia aerospace exports in 2010 grew 23 percent to an all-time high of $4.14 billion, bumping the state’s ranking up a notch to seventh in the U.S.

Georgia led all other U.S. states in the export of wood pulp, poultry, minerals and ores (kaolin), and textile floor coverings (carpet). Georgia ranked second in the export of paper and paperboard, acrylic polymers and cotton; third in the export of iron and steel sections; and fourth in the export of gas turbines and electric capacitors, and tractors and motorcycles.
 Georgia imports increase

The state’s imports outpaced exports by approximately $31.5 billion. Companies in Georgia imported $60.2 billion in goods in 2010, ranking it ninth among U.S. states and second in the Southeast in dollar value of imports. Ten countries accounted for 71 percent of Georgia’s total imports. The largest increase was from Korea (141 percent), from which imports of non-railway vehicles nearly tripled in 2010.

Among U.S. states, Georgia ranked first in dollar value of imports from Chile, third in imports from Germany and France, fourth from Korea and Singapore, and sixth from the U.K. Georgia’s top 10 import industries accounted for 69 percent of its total imports.

More companies assisted

The number of deals facilitated by Georgia’s International Trade division has more than doubled since its 2006 fiscal year, from 116 to 235 in FY10. GDEcD’s international offices assisted with 60 percent of these deals, which exceeded $21.3 million. According to the International Trade Administration, 83 percent of the more than 10,000 Georgia firms that export goods have fewer than 500 employees.

“Exporting creates twice as many jobs as domestic trade, and it’s not just for the big guys,” said Kathe Falls, director of GDEcD’s Trade division. “It’s perfect for small- and medium-sized companies who have the right assets in place, who are willing to invest time and money and who are committed to the long-term process.”

The International Trade division received a Presidential “E-Star” award in 2007 for excellence in exporting. The “E” Award is the federal government’s highest honor in exporting, and recognizes U.S. firms for competitive achievements in world markets and their part in increasing U.S. exports abroad. GDEcD was recognized for leading an integrated partnership with other federal, state and local agencies which collaborate to help Georgia companies export their goods and services.