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State exports grow 8.5% to $4.2 billion

Minnesota manufactured exports increased to $4.2 billion in the first quarter of 2008 -- 8.5 percent higher than the same period a year ago.

The increase was due to improved sales of transportation equipment, processed foods, and computer and electronics goods, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

"Minnesota manufacturers continue to show impressive gains in export sales," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "Exports grew in seven of our top 10 markets and in nine of our top 10 manufacturing sectors during the quarter."

Canada posted the biggest value gain in the quarter, increasing its purchases of state manufactured goods by $255 million (up 27.3 percent from a year ago) to $1.2 billion. Canada is Minnesota's largest trade partner, accounting for more than one-fourth of all manufactured exports from the state.

Minnesota's other top export customers during the quarter were China ($287 million), Japan ($211 million), Germany ($184 million) and the United Kingdom ($177 million).

Minnesota increased its sales to the Philippines by 56.2 percent to $170 million, and its exports to Mexico leaped 46.4 percent to $176 million in the quarter.

Computers and electronics was the state's largest export category in the quarter, accounting for about $1 billion in sales, an increase of 6.6 percent from a year ago. Other major sectors are machinery (up 8.6 percent to $691 million), transportation equipment (up 20.4 percent to $538 million), miscellaneous products, including medical devices (down 26.4 percent to $438 million) and food (up 44.3 percent to $366 million).

The full Minnesota report can be viewed online at