Michigan exports up 13 percent in 2011

May 6, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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The International Trade Administration in Washington, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has released new data that show Michigan merchandise exports increased 13 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, growing from $44.8 billion to $50.8 billion.

The data is timely, as today is the start of the 27th annual World Trade Week in West Michigan, organized jointly by the Grand Rapids office of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Grand Valley State University.

World Trade Week was originally a presidential proclamation but the exporting business community in West Michigan has run with it, building momentum each year.

“Michigan exporters continue to sell some of the most innovative products and services to world destinations, advancing President Obama’s National Export Initiative that is on pace to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014,” said Francisco Sánchez, the undersecretary for international trade. “Eighty-five percent of world economic growth over the next five years will take place outside of the United States. As the U.S. economy builds momentum, we must continue to equip U.S. businesses with all the necessary tools to increase exports that support millions of high-paying jobs across the country.”

Michigan’s 2011 merchandise export sales increased to many top destinations, including Australia (up 114 percent), Korea (30 percent), Brazil (29 percent), China (23 percent) and Mexico (21 percent). Key merchandise export categories include transportation equipment, machinery manufactures, chemicals, primary metal manufactures, and computer and electronic products.

“Michigan is seeing a lot of movement in export sales,” said Kendra Kuo, senior international trade specialist of the U.S. Commercial Service in Grand Rapids. “My office has also seen an uptick in the number of smaller firms looking to sell their products to international markets. Before companies export, it is important for them to do their homework first. My office can help companies identify potential global markets of interest, research regulations, determine landed costs and find international distributors.”

Kuo said foreign buyers “have a high appreciation for U.S. brand-name products and services. One way for Michigan companies to expand their international presence is to utilize the incentives currently available through the State Trade Export Program grant with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The Commercial Service offices in Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Detroit have been working closely with the MEDC to counsel Michigan exporters looking to expand into new markets using the STEP grant.”

With more than 100 offices across the United States and in American embassies and consulates in nearly 80 countries, the ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service connects U.S. companies with international buyers through export counseling and a variety of export services. In 2011, the worldwide U.S. Commercial Service helped U.S. businesses facilitate 14,200 export successes worth $55 billion in U.S. export sales.

Companies interested in getting started should contact the local office in Grand Rapids at (616) 458-3564 or visit www.export.gov/michigan

For more information about the impact of exports on individual states, visit the Office of Trade and Industry Information’s web page at www.trade.gov/mas/ian

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