OLYMPIA, WA – The state of Washington set a new record for exports in 2013 with $81.9 billion in products and services sold to international customers, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced. Washington was one of 16 states that set new records, helping total U.S. exports reach $2.3 trillion, also a new high.
The most recent year was particularly good for Washington – an 8.4 percent increase – but in the past five years the state has nearly tripled the national growth rate. Since 1996, Washington’s exports grew 209 percent compared to 153 percent for the nation.
Washington’s export growth is led by aerospace, with international sales that last year totaled $43.6 billion, an 18 percent increase over 2012. Other top Washington exports include fuel, industrial machinery, wheat, electric machinery, medical instruments, and wood.
Also impressive is a spike in the number of Washington companies engaged in exporting: 12,677 according to most recent U.S. Commerce data, up from 8,551 in the last survey.
Building on strong results from aerospace and increased agriculture commodity prices, the Washington State Department of Commerce has worked over the past several years to broaden the pipeline of companies selling Washington products and services overseas. Other key industries for Washington state include advanced manufacturing, global health and life sciences, information and communications technology, clean energy and the maritime sector.
“With at least one in three jobs in Washington related to international trade, creating a culture of exporting is a key pillar of our economic development agenda,” said Washington State Department of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “Companies from a variety of industry sectors have opportunities to reach new customers in some of the fastest growing economies in the world. We have increased focus on successful export assistance programs to help more new-to-export small- and medium-sized businesses compete in the global marketplace.”
Washington is the fourth-largest exporting state in the U.S.