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State exports set quarterly record

Minnesota companies exported a record $4.6 billion in manufactured products in the fourth quarter last year, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

That figure broke the previous quarterly record of $4.5 billion that was set in the third quarter of 2008.

"The fourth quarter capped an outstanding year for Minnesota manufactured exports," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "Our exports climbed at a consistent pace all year, increasing by more than 17 percent from 2009."

Minnesota's largest trade partner in the fourth quarter was Canada, accounting for $1.3 billion worth of state exports, up 22 percent from a year ago.

Other top 10 export markets in the fourth quarter were China ($517 million, up 42 percent), Japan ($238 million, up 5 percent), Mexico ($225 million, up 22 percent), Germany ($197 million, up 17 percent), the United Kingdom ($152 million, up 9 percent), South Korea ($143 million, up 11 percent), the Philippines ($142 million, up 44 percent), Belgium ($135 million, up 11 percent) and Singapore ($125 million, up 15 percent).

Computers and electronics led all sectors in the fourth quarter, with $1.1 billion in sales, up 18 percent from the same period a year ago.

Other top 10 sectors in the quarter were machinery ($776 million, up 34 percent), transportation equipment ($632 million, 20 percent), miscellaneous (including medical devices) ($426 million, down 12 percent), food ($369 million, up 9 percent), chemicals ($283 million, up 20 percent), electrical equipment ($187 million, up 11 percent), paper ($168 million, up 4 percent), fabricated metals ($151 million, up 17 percent), and plastics and rubber ($126 million, up 10 percent).

"Asia and North America were particularly strong markets in the fourth quarter, combining to represent about two-thirds of our manufactured exports," said Katie Clark, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office, a unit within DEED.

"In Asia, sales were up 42 percent to China and 44 percent to the Philippines. Taiwan and Thailand also had impressive gains. We will continue to pursue these high-performing markets and will also focus on connecting Minnesota companies with opportunities in emerging markets to increase exports and jobs."

The miscellaneous category, which includes medical devices, was the only top 10 Minnesota sector that saw a drop in exports in the fourth quarter.

Sales declines were especially evident in Ireland (down 49 percent), Japan (down 21 percent) and the Netherlands (down 29 percent).

The full report is available at

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.

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