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Metro area becoming export powerhouse, up 13 percent

The U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration says new export data shows the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area's merchandise exports increased by $3 billion -- 12.9 percent between 2010 and 2011 -- growing from $23.2 billion to $26.2 billion.

This impressive growth has put the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) into a select group of 11 nationwide MSAs which exported at least $25 billion in merchandise exports last year.

Key merchandise export categories for the Minneapolis metropolitan area in 2011 included crop production, computer and electronic products, machinery (except electrical), miscellaneous manufactured commodities, and food and kindred products.

Top export markets for Minneapolis included Canada, China, Mexico, South Korea, and Japan.

"Exports are an increasingly important part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul economy as local businesses both big and small continue to look beyond our borders to increase their customer base," said Francisco Sánchez, commerce under secretary for international trade.

"I have seen first-hand the power of exports for the region and the diversity of products and services that are in demand all over the world. The new data confirms the region's focus on increasing exports is already bearing fruit."

According to international trade figures released today by the International Trade Administration, 150 U.S. metropolitan areas (40.9 percent of all metropolitan areas) exported more than $1 billion in merchandise in 2011. Additionally, a vast majority of metropolitan areas (308, or 83.9 percent of all metropolitan areas) enjoyed increased exports between 2010 and 2011.

"Many Minnesota exporters are finding that emerging markets around the world offer some of the best opportunities for making new sales, and are adjusting their export strategies accordingly," said Janelle Weyek, commercial officer in ITA's U.S. Commercial Service in Minneapolis.

"One of the most important aspects of exporting is that it helps firms to diversify their portfolios and buffer changes in the domestic economy, and that's good for business. We'd like to help you realize your export potential."

ITA works with American businesses to identify export opportunities for their products and to support the President's National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

It has a specific focus on helping metropolitan areas identify regional strengths in order to increase their exports and support local jobs.