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Minnesota exports post 10th straight quarter of record growth

ST. PAUL - Minnesota exports of agricultural, mining and manufactured products reached $4.9 billion in the first quarter of 2013, the state's 10th consecutive quarter of record export growth, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

"Minnesota exports increased by $17 million compared to the first quarter of 2012, contributing to overall growth of our economy," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "Seizing the opportunity to sell our products worldwide puts Minnesota at a competitive advantage and is critical for the state's long-term success."

Gains were the strongest in North America (up $89 million), the European Union (up $37 million) and other European countries (up $29 million), while exports to Asia were down 11 percent. North America is Minnesota's largest export market, accounting for 34 percent of total sales, followed by Asia (31 percent) and the European Union (21 percent).

Minnesota exports to European markets outside the European Union were up 29 percent to $131 million. Other smaller regions experiencing growth included Central and South America (up 8 percent, $239 million) and Africa (up 68 percent, $68 million).

Exports to the state's largest national market, Canada, grew 8 percent from a year ago to $1.4 billion. Other major markets for Minnesota exporters were China ($533 million, down 3 percent), Mexico ($292 million, down 6 percent), Japan ($260 million, down 26 percent) and Belgium ($177 million, up 7 percent).

Machinery led all export products, reaching $1 billion, down 4 percent from the same period one year ago. Other top 10 products were optic, medical ($797 million, up 2 percent), electrical machinery ($612 million, no change), vehicles ($432 million, up 17 percent), and plastic ($240 million, down 14 percent).

Strong gains in export of aircraft/spacecraft (up 108 percent) were led by increased sales of civilian aircraft parts to the Netherlands. Exports of vehicles grew 17 percent with Canada and Belgium responsible for much of the gains; passenger cars, snowmobiles, special purpose vehicles, motor trucks and tractors were especially strong growth segments.

Sales of beverages (up 126 percent) increased mainly to Canada, led by the growth of denatured ethyl alcohol, a non-consumable product. Sales of meat declined more than 20 percent to $79 million during the first quarter, driven by decreased demand for fresh and frozen pork.

The full export report is available at