A Bipartisan Consensus on Trade

By May 25, 2008Infrastructure, Trade

The National Summit on American Competitiveness in Chicago last Thursday featured two governors, Janet Napolitano of Arizona, a Democrat, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a Republican. Turns out their administrations share an appreciation for the role of trade in strengthening their states’ economies.

From the Arizona governor’s office, March 12:

PHOENIX – Despite slower economic growth in much of the nation, Arizona showed its strength in the global economy by increasing exports to the world by nearly 5 percent in 2007. Governor Janet Napolitano today announced that Arizona exports grew $1 billion in 2007, with Arizona companies exporting $19.2 billion in products through the end of December, up from $18.3 billion in 2006.

Mexico was again Arizona’s largest trading partner, with $5.2 billion in sales, even though exports to that country dropped slightly, while other nations dramatically increased exports from Arizona in the last year. Canada continues to show demand for Arizona products, posting a 16 percent gain from 2006, and coming in second, with $2.14 billion.

China comes in at number three, with $1.3 billion in exports, a rise of 10.1 percent from 2006.

“This exemplifies our state’s ability to produce goods that the rest of the world needs and wants,” said Napolitano. “Global exports – especially in times of slow U.S. growth – are important to the state’s economy and the many businesses that benefit from selling their products worldwide.”

From the South Carolina Department of Commerce, April 1:

The South Carolina Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority today announced the state’s 2007 exports totaled more than $16.5 billion in goods sold to 198 countries around the world, representing a 21.6% increase over 2006 totals. In 2007, South Carolina’s 21.6% export growth ranked it 9th among the 54 states and U.S. territories and number one in the Southeast.

The state’s top 10 export industries last year were vehicles, machinery, plastics, electrical machinery, rubber, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals, optics and medical equipment, wood pulp, and manmade staple fibers. Of the top 25 product sectors, the sector that experienced the greatest export growth in 2007 was iron and steel, which rose 105.7% totaling more than $163 million. This increase was followed closely by the aircraft and spacecraft sector which rose 105.6% with exports totaling nearly $94 million. Other growing export product sectors included automobiles – up 64.4%, aluminum – up 31.8%, copper products – up 28.9%, and paper and paperboard – up 27.6% (all compared to 2006 totals).

“As South Carolina’s exports continue to grow, so do the businesses engaged in export activity in our state. South Carolina’s diverse economy is producing more products enjoyed by more people all around the world and this export growth directly translates into job opportunities for South Carolinians. Last year’s numbers are also a testament that the state’s business-friendly climate is working to strengthen our ability to compete in the global economy,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.

Germany is now South Carolina’s No. 1 export market, with BMW getting much of the credit. Exports up 80 percent in a single year!

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