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  April 20th, 2015 | Written by

The Plains Truth

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Exporting activity from the Central Plains states is playing a strong supporting role in America’s struggling but improving economic comeback.

This past February, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that U.S. exports in 2014 set a record for the fifth consecutive year, reaching $2.35 trillion. Key industry sectors in the limelight include capital goods; consumer goods; petroleum products; foods, feeds and beverages; and auto vehicles and parts. Most notably, Champagne bottles were popping by year-end 2014 as beef exports hit the $7 billion mark.

State exports supported 70,027 U.S. jobs in 2013; 5,999 companies exported from here in 2012.

Missouri’s Gov. Jay Nixon says the state has made it “a priority” to put more Missouri-made products on shelves around the world.
Last year, exports of Missouri goods exceeded $14 billion, up 9 percent from the previous year. In the past decade exports jumped tremendously to Asia (up 442 percent), while gains were made on other continents as well. Key markets are Canada, Mexico, Japan and Korea. Top exports are transportation equipment, chemicals and food, and machinery. Oil and gas, and livestock products, are growing export categories.

In March, Nixon became the first U.S. governor to go on a trade mission to Cuba. In February, he heralded the many benefits of exporting to this tiny nation, notably for Missouri farmers and ranchers. In addition to creating more jobs stateside, Nixon opined that trade with Cuba (and other nations) is a “tremendous opportunity to extend the reach of our democratic values and ideals [which can] advance freedom and democracy.”

State exports supported 71,111 U.S. jobs in 2013; 3,387 companies exported from here in 2012.

The largest merchandise export category in Kansas is machinery (except electrical), which accounted for $1.7 billion of Oklahoma’s total merchandise exports in 2013. Other top merchandise exports are transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, computer and electronic products, and chemicals.

Wichita-based Kansas Global Trade Services says it is “dedicated to building international growth and commerce for Kansas companies.” Through education, communication and research services, it has helped 40-some member companies generate more than $165 million in international sales since 1994. “Our key focus industries are aviation, agriculture and advanced manufacturing,” explains Tyler Walston, senior director of Business Development and Global Air Capitol Program.

Relatedly, the International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City (ITC), founded in 1944, promotes international trade via education and networking programs to member companies located in the Kansas City region.

Every year, Kansas seeks out the best example of a successful exporter for its “Governor’s Exporter of the Year” award. The program helps encourage growth in the state’s international commerce activity. Recent winners were: Kansas Aviation of Independence (2014); Excel Industries (2013); and PITSCO (2012).
Nebraska: State exports supported 43,419 U.S. jobs in 2013; 1,945 companies exported from here in 2012.

Nebraska is at the heart of the nation’s agricultural system, as its farmers and ranchers are some of the most productive on the planet and feed the world. “Nebraska is number one in cattle on feed, number two in ethanol production, number three in corn production, and the fourth-largest state for overall agriculture production,” noted Gov. Pete Ricketts in his February “State of the State” speech.

Canada is Nebraska’s No. 1 customer. The top five exports to this northern neighbor are natural gas/other gases; agricultural machinery; animal meats; furniture and bedding; plus pasta, breads and cereal preparations.

The state recently reached a new export milestone in its beef sector. More than $1 billion of Nebraska beef was exported to global markets through the first 11 months of 2014, a new record for the state. Significant growth is seen in East Asian markets and also in many emerging markets. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, exports add $212 in value to each beef animal.

State exports supported 36,218 U.S. jobs in 2013; 3,241 companies exported from here in 2012.

Oklahoma exported $6.9 billion in merchandise in 2013; nearly half of those exports—$3.4 billion—were delivered to U.S. free trade partner nations. In the past decade, exports from Oklahoma to those markets grew by 90 percent, with NAFTA countries, Singapore, Australia, Colombia and Israel representing the most significant dollar growth.

Key state export categories include machinery (except electrical), transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, computer and electrical products, and chemicals. About one-quarter of all manufacturing workers here depend upon exports to keep their jobs. Oklahoma’s top export markets are Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and Germany.

North Dakota
State exports supported 18,074 U.S. jobs in 2013; 1,977 companies exported from here in 2012.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, North Dakota broke its all-time export record during 2014 by exporting $5.3 billion worth of commodities, a 42 percent increase from 2013. (In comparison, U.S. exports overall increased by just 3 percent in 2014.) This milestone means the state experienced the second-highest year-over-year export growth among all 50 states last year. The most-wanted North Dakota exports include mineral fuels and oil products, front-end loaders, wheat and soybeans.

Canada accounts for 78 percent of state exports, making it the primary destination with $4.1 billion, up from $2.7 billion in 2013. Other key North Dakota export customers include Mexico, Australia, Belgium and China.

GOV. JAY NIXON Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has helped his state increase year-over-year exports by 9 percent, and in March became the first governor to visit Cuba.
GOV. JAY NIXON Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has helped his state increase year-over-year exports by 9 percent, and in March became the first governor to visit Cuba.

South Dakota
State exports supported 9,544 U.S. jobs in 2013; 970 companies exported from here in 2012.
Food (and kindred products) is South Dakota’s largest merchandise export category, representing $535 million of total merchandise exports in 2013. Other top merchandise exports are machinery (except electrical), transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, plus beverages and tobacco products.

South Dakota exported $1.6 billion in merchandise in 2013, sending $1.2 billion (74 percent) of that to America’s free-trade partners. During the past decade, exports from South Dakota to those markets increased by 139 percent, with NAFTA countries, Australia, Israel, Chile and Dominican Republic showing the largest dollar growth.