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Minnesota Exports Grow 2% in First Quarter to $6.7 Billion

State exports rebound after last year, showing growth in the first quarter of 2023.

St. Paul – Minnesota exports of goods were valued at $6.7 billion in the first quarter of 2024, a 2% increase since the first quarter of 2023, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Minnesota outpaced the nation as a whole, with U.S. exports of goods unchanged over the year.

Over half of the state’s top 10 exported products had moderate-to-strong performances in the first quarter. Optic and medical (up 12%), plastics (up 18%), aircraft and spacecraft (up 33%) as well as vehicles (up 26%) led in gains. Vehicle and vehicle parts sales surged in core markets like Mexico (up 38%), as well as in emerging markets such as Australia (up 202%), South Africa (up 317%) and Poland (up 318%).

“The growth we’ve seen in the first quarter compared to 2023 is a promising start to the year,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “We’re excited to see strong growth with some of our most important trading partners and from our biggest industries. Increasing global trade can help us create good jobs, help businesses expand and keep our economy growing.”

Sales of Minnesota goods to North America increased by 1%, where surging exports to Mexico (up 20%) were offset by continued declines to Canada. Export losses to Canada that were driven by mineral fuel and oil (down 16%) were partially mitigated by solid growth in aircraft (up 112%) and vehicle (up 17%) products. Other notable growth segments were cereal grains ($70 million, up 11%) and food by-products ($62 million, up 15%).

The Minnesota Trade Office at DEED is organizing a business development mission to Canada next week, where a delegation of state agencies and Minnesota economic development and agricultural leaders will promote Minnesota as a destination for trade and business investment.

Growth performance in many other global regions was robust. The state’s exports grew to Asia (up 7%), the Caribbean, Central and South America (up 12%), Australia-Pacific (up 27%) and the Middle East (up 9%). Exports fell 6% to the EU — despite notable growth markets such as Ireland (up 22%) and France (up 25%)—as well as 13% to Africa.

"The export rebound is great news after declines in the past year,” said Minnesota Trade Office Executive Director Gabrielle Gerbaud. “We continue to focus on international growth opportunities and work with Minnesota companies to expand their reach and make new connections in foreign markets.”

The full first quarter 2024 report is available on DEED's website in the Export and Trade Statistics section.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. Find out how DEED delivers for Minnesota by visiting the DEED website,, or follow us on X.


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