South Carolina exports hit record $25.3 billion

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - Gov. Nikki Haley, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority announced  Friday the state's 2012 exports totaled nearly $25.3 billion in goods sold to 197 countries around the world, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The figures represent a 2.23 percent increase over 2011 totals, and a record for the state.

In 2012, South Carolina's export growth ranked the state 17th in the U.S.

"It is great to see South Carolina's export numbers continue to grow. Companies want to be able to reach world markets with their products, and our state certainly provides that opportunity with world-class port facilities. These numbers also show the strong economic ties our state has with countries around the globe," said Gov. Nikki Haley.

The state's top 10 export industries last year were vehicles, machinery, rubber products, electrical machinery, plastics, optical and medical equipment, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals, wood pulp and cotton yarn and fabric. Of the top product sectors, the three experiencing the largest percentage increase were optical and medical equipment at a 19 percent increase, rubber products at more than an 8.6 percent increase and plastics at more than an 8.2 percent increase.

"Our state manufactures the things people and industries around the world want to buy, and our growing export numbers show it. Canada, Germany and China remain very important export markets for South Carolina," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "We look forward to building on our relationships with all our trading partners. Commerce's export program is one way to do that, by helping South Carolina's small- and medium-sized businesses enter new export markets."

South Carolina ranked first among U.S. states in tire exports, holding nearly 30 percent of the share of U.S. made exported tires for the second consecutive year.

Posting a 5.37 percent increase from 2011, Canada overtook Germany for the top spot as South Carolina's number one export market in 2012, purchasing nearly $4 billion in products. Germany was a close second, purchasing more than $3.7 billion in products. China remained at number three in 2012, purchasing more than $3.2 billion. Rounding out the top 10 export markets in 2012 in order of rank were Mexico at number four, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"South Carolina is rich in exports, both finished goods and agricultural products, which tend to be heavier to ship and which require access to deep water facilities like the Port of Charleston," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. "We expect exports from our port to outpace imports in the coming years, and we are making major strides to enhance our port's infrastructure and deepen Charleston Harbor in order to continue the positive impacts trade brings to our state."

2012 S.C. export rankings among states:

  • Ranked 17th in exports.
  • Ranked only behind California in exports to Germany.
  • Ranked 3rd in exports to Iraq and the Czech Republic.
  • Ranked 4th in exports to Egypt, Hungary and Sweden
  • Ranked 9th in exports to China
  • Ranked first in exports of tires, holding nearly 30 percent of the share of U.S. made exported tires. (second year in a row)
  • Ranked second in exports of gas turbines and automobiles to the world.

The U.S. Department of Commerce is the data source for South Carolina's export statistics.