Georgia's International Trade Posts Another Record Year

Staff Report

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The state of Georgia experienced its fourth consecutive record year in international trade during 2012, exceeding the previous year’s milestones in both imports and exports. Georgia’s exports were up 3.2 percent—a $1.1 billion increase—compared to 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released this month. The total value of goods exported from Georgia totaled $35.8 billion, the most the state has ever exported in a single year and an indication that Georgia companies are aggressively pursuing international markets. Since the announcement of the National Export Initiative in 2009, exports from Georgia have grown 51 percent. 
“These figures are a good sign for Georgia’s economy. Last year, companies in 79 percent of Georgia counties utilized our international trade services to expand their markets and strengthen their businesses,” said Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). “With the fastest-growing port in the country and a world-renowned international airport, Georgia already has the resources in place to provide a multitude of opportunities for exporters.”  
Georgia retained its ranking as the nation’s 12th leading U.S. state in dollar value of exports. Canada, China, Mexico, Singapore and Japan all remained Georgia’s top five export destinations, and together accounted for 42 percent of the state’s exports. Canada alone accounted for 18 percent of Georgia’s exports. The United Kingdom moved to the sixth top export destination, up from eighth in 2011. Germany dropped to Georgia’s seventh leading export market.  Among Georgia’s top ten export destinations, which accounted for 56 percent of the state’s total exports, the largest increases in exports were to Mexico (16%), China (17%), Australia (17%), and the United Kingdom (15%). By region, Georgia’s leading export destinations were Asia (35%), North America (29%), and Europe (22%).  
Leading Products Exported
Georgia’s leading export industries ranked by dollar value were non-electric machinery, aircraft/spacecraft, non-railway vehicles, electrical machinery, and wood pulp. These five industry sectors accounted for 52 percent of Georgia’s exports; the top ten industry sectors accounted for 71 percent. Georgia exports of non-electric machinery in 2012 grew 13 percent to $5 billion, accounting for 16 percent of the state’s total exports. Georgia’s meat industry grew by 21 percent in 2012, an increase of more than $220 million. 
Georgia led all other U.S. states in the export of meat & edible offal of poultry; chemical wood pulp, soda or sulfate; cotton; kraft paper & paperboard; chemical wood pulp, dissolving grade; carpet; kaolin; and peanuts. 
“Exporting creates twice as many jobs as domestic trade. For every job created in making the product, another job is created in getting the product to market,” said Kathe Falls, director of GDEcD’s Trade division. “It’s not just for the ‘big guys’. In Georgia, 50 percent of the companies helped by GDEcD have 30 employees or less.”

Georgia Imports Increase
The state’s imports outpaced exports by approximately $36.5 billion. Georgia companies imported more than $72 billion in goods in 2012, an increase of eight percent ($5.4 billion) over 2011. Georgia ranked ninth among U.S. states and second in the Southeast in dollar value of imports.

Among U.S. states, Georgia ranked first in dollar value of imports from Germany and Chile, third in imports from South Korea and Thailand, and fifth in imports from Malaysia. These top five import countries accounted for 60 percent of Georgia’s imports, and top ten import markets accounted for 74 percent of total imports. Among Georgia’s ten largest importer nations, the largest increase was from South Korea (35%), followed by Germany (17%) and Japan (13%). 

Georgia’s International Trade Office is a part of the Global Commerce Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. With the support of the state’s 10 international representatives, the trade office helps Georgia manufacturers and professional service providers to increase exports, and promotes trade with Georgia in key global markets. The International Trade team, 2007 winner of the federal government’s highest exporting award, matches Georgia suppliers with international buyers through a variety of services including research, export assistance, in-country partner searches and market assessments. Several trade opportunities provided by GDEcD are funded in part through a grant award with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program. SBA provides a number of loan programs specifically designed to help develop or expand trade and export activities.