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State exports grow 6 percent to $5.4 billion

Minnesota exports of manufactured, agricultural and mining products grew to $5.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, a 6 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Minnesota exports grew at their fastest year-over-year pace in more than two years in the quarter and exceeded overall U.S. export growth of 4 percent during the period.

Manufactured exports, which accounted for $5 billion in state sales during the fourth quarter, grew 7 percent from the same period a year ago, compared with 3 percent growth for manufactured exports nationally.

“Minnesota had a strong fourth quarter and was one of 19 states that saw exports grow more than 5 percent,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “With three new foreign trade offices opening in Brazil, Germany and South Korea, the state is positioned to continue seeing healthy export increases in 2014.”

Major increases in exports to China and Mexico – the state’s second- and third-largest markets, respectively – drove much of the growth in the fourth quarter. Sales to China grew 35 percent to $743 million, while sales to Mexico climbed 32 percent to $439 million.

Canada remains the state’s largest export market, with sales at $1.48 billion in the quarter, down 7 percent from the same period a year ago.