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State Exports Rise, Birmingham Metro Exports Fall

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Exports from the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area totaled $1.9 billion in 2012, down 20 percent from the record $2.4 billion the year before, according to federal data released today.

Statewide, exports totaled a record $19.6 billion, up from $17.9 billion in 2011, according to U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration data.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., said significant fluctuations in year-to-year export numbers are not uncommon, especially in smaller metro areas such as Birmingham. The trend over several years is a better measure of performance and over the past five years, the spokesperson said, Birmingham has seen exports steadily increase.

Key export categories for the Birmingham area in 2012 included transportation equipment, primary metal manufactures, machinery, plastics and rubber products, and mining. Trading partners in the APEC and NAFTA regions were the leading destinations for Birmingham exports.

Nelda Segars, director of the U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center in Birmingham, said the growth statewide should be encouraging for businesses seeking to export.

“Foreign buyers have a high appreciation for U.S. brand name products and services, and there’s no better time than now to start exporting,” she said in a prepared statement. “We’re here to help businesses realize their export potential.”

The single largest component of Alabama exports last year was machinery, at 27 percent, followed by food at 23 percent. The state’s biggest trade partner was Canada, followed by Germany and China.

Nationwide, exports totaled a record $2.2 trillion and supported 10 million jobs, said Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

“Metropolitan areas across the country play a key role in strengthening our economy and continuing the growth of our exports,” he said.

Stan Diel | By Stan Diel | on July 11, 2013

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