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Minnesota Exports Up 6 Percent in Fourth Quarter

Strong growth in Asia, the European Union and North American markets

ST. PAUL – Minnesota companies exported $5.3 billion worth of agricultural, mining and manufactured products in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 6 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Annually, between 2016 and 2017, Minnesota exports increased almost 8 percent to $20.6 billion, while U.S. exports grew almost 7 percent.

“Steady export activity, fueled by Minnesota businesses both large and small, continues to contribute to Minnesota’s strong and diverse economy,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Growth in Asia, the European Union and North American markets led the increases in the final quarter of 2017.”

State exports to Asia grew 9 percent to $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter, while exports to Europe were up 10 percent, reaching $1.2 billion. Exports to North American markets were up 5 percent to $1.7 billion.

Exports to Central and South America were flat at $247 million. Sales declined to the Australia-Pacific region ($135 million, down 7 percent), the Middle East ($98 million, down 19 percent) and Africa ($47 million, down 19 percent).

Canada was the largest national market, with sales of $1.1 billion (up 7 percent).

Other countries in the top 10 were China ($676 million, up 12 percent), Mexico ($574 million, up 1 percent), Japan ($375 million, up 37 percent), Germany ($259 million, up 44 percent), South Korea ($208 million, down 12 percent), Belgium ($167 million, up 1 percent), the United Kingdom ($152 million, down 11 percent), Singapore ($140 million, flat) and the Philippines ($122 million, up 12 percent).

Optics, medical instruments led all categories with sales of $979 million, up 8 percent from a year ago.

Other major exports were machinery ($810 million, up 2 percent), electrical machinery ($781 million, up 22 percent), plastics ($347 million, up 15 percent), vehicles ($344 million, down 15 percent), pharmaceuticals ($155 million, up 77 percent), food byproducts ($149 million, down 2 percent), meat ($100 million, up 3 percent), aircraft, spacecraft ($97 million, down 31 percent), and ores, slag, ash ($88 million, up 75 percent).

Telecommunications equipment (up 61 percent) and integrated circuits (up 20 percent) contributed the most to growth in electrical machinery. The strongest growth markets were China ($95 million, up 41 percent), Japan ($54 million, up 86 percent) and Germany ($56 million, up 61 percent).

Gains in exports of optic/medical products were led by Japan ($122 million, up 18 percent), Ireland ($70 million, up 32 percent) and Canada ($73 million, up 23 percent). The strongest performing segments were optical fibers ($160 million, up 40 percent) and artificial body parts ($120 million, up 33 percent).

The full 2017 fourth quarter export report can be seen at DEED export and trade statistics.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.


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