Alabama set new record in 2017 for total exports

Alabama set new record in 2017 for total exports
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The world is taking more of what Alabama is making, according to data released Thursday that shows 2017 was a record year for exports.

Alabama saw $21.7 billion in exports for the year, which Gov. Kay Ivey's office attributes to rising overseas shipments of products such as automobiles, aircraft components, chemicals, paper, and minerals.

Exports of Alabama-made goods and services increased by about 6 percent from the previous year's $20.5 billion total, which was also a record. In fact, over the last decade, Alabama's exports have boomed by more than 50 percent.

"We've seen Alabama exports continue to expand in recent years, strengthening our economy at home and creating more opportunities for our citizens," 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.

So, where are Alabama businesses' products and services going? Answer: Almost everywhere.

A total of 189 countries imported products from Alabama in 2017 with No. 1 Canada gobbling up just over $4 billion. China was second at $3.62 billion followed by Germany, Mexico, and Japan to round out the top 5.

What is Alabama exporting? At the top of the list with a value of $10.9 billion is transportation equipment. That represents half of all exports. Alabama-built vehicles make up the majority of the exports in that category while auto parts and aircraft and spacecraft components are also included.

Other top Alabama exports 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, according to Ivey's office.

In 2017, Alabama ranked No. 22 in the nation for export volume, moving up a spot from the previous year.

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