Alabama Exports Set New Record in 2017

February 23, 2018
by Staff Reports

From Governor’s Office:

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey has announced that Alabama exports reached a record $21.7 billion in 2017, powered by rising overseas shipments of products such as automobiles, aircraft components, chemicals, paper and minerals.

New government trade figures show that exports of Alabama-made goods and services increased more than 6 percent from 2016’s total of $20.5 billion, the state’s previous annual record. The gain reflects a long-term trend, as Alabama exports have surged 21 percent since 2011 and 50 percent in a decade, figures indicate.

“We’ve seen Alabama exports continue to expand in recent years, strengthening our economy at home and creating more opportunities for our citizens,” Governor Ivey said. “The companies sending Alabama-made products to markets across the world are not just large, multinational companies, but also small and medium-sized companies located in communities across the state.

“Setting a new annual export record is just another example of the economic success that Alabama is enjoying right now,” she added.

In 2017, Alabama business exported goods and services to 189 countries. The Top 5 markets were: Canada ($4.14 billion), China ($3.62 billion), Germany ($2.94 billion), Mexico ($2.9 billion), and Japan ($682.6 million). Exports to China and Mexico both grew by 10 percent, while shipments to Japan jumped 30 percent, the figures show.

“Exporting is a fundamental economic pillar that supports growth in our state, and increasing demand for Alabama-made products around the globe underscores the success of our dynamic manufacturing sector,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Growing export activity contributes economic vitality and spurs job creation across the state.”

Transportation equipment remained Alabama’s No. 1 export category, rising nearly 2 percent to $10.9 billion in 2017. Motor vehicles represent the largest part of Alabama exports in this category, but the total also includes overseas shipments of auto parts, and aircraft and spacecraft components.

Other top Alabama exports in 2017 included chemicals ($2.3 billion), primary metals ($1.9 billion), minerals and ore ($1.3 billion), and paper ($1.1 billion), according to trade figures. Exports of minerals, primarily coal, rose 158 percent last year, while primary metals and paper each rose about 28 percent.

“With much of the world’s purchasing power located outside the U.S., Alabama companies are looking at markets beyond our borders for growth opportunities,” said Hilda Lockhart, director of the Commerce Department’s Office of International Trade. “Exports enhance the quality of life for all Alabamians and elevate prosperity in the state. Creating jobs through exports for the state’s citizens is key to accelerating Alabama globally.”

Alabama ranked No. 22 among the states in export volume in 2017, moving up one spot from the previous year, Lockhart said. Alabama’s increase of 6.3 percent last year was in line with the overall U.S. gain of 6.6 percent.

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