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State Exports Climb 6 Percent in Fourth Quarter

Minnesota export sales reach $5.4 billion

March 17, 2014

Madeline Koch, 651-259-7236

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 (DEED).

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.

Other countries in the state’s top 10 markets were Japan ($276 million, up 2 percent), Germany ($211 million, up 21 percent), Belgium ($192 million, up 14 percent), South Korea ($157 million, down 7 percent), United Kingdom ($134 million, up 17 percent), Australia ($119 million, up 6 percent) and the Philippines ($118 million, down 8 percent).

By global region, exports climbed by 12 percent to $1.7 billion in Asia and by 11 percent to $1.1 billion in the European Union (EU). Exports in North America were flat at $1.9 billion.

Smaller regions seeing healthy increases were the Middle East ($94 million, up 7 percent), Africa ($59 million, up 11 percent) and European countries not in the EU ($135 million, up 6 percent).

The state’s leading export category was machinery, which grew 1 percent to $937 million. Other major exports were optics, medical products ($889 million, up 21 percent), electrical machinery ($659 million, down 3 percent), vehicles ($530 million, up 3 percent), plastic ($265 million, up 18 percent), ores, slag, ash ($200 million, up 63 percent), food byproducts ($163 million, up 9 percent), aircraft, spacecraft ($113 million, down 17 percent), meat ($91 million, up 3 percent) and beverages ($80 million, up 21 percent).

The 21 percent growth in optics, medical products was driven by increased sales of medical and surgical instruments (up 20 percent to $302 million) and orthopedic and artificial parts (up 16 percent to $150 million).

Ores, slag and ash – typically a volatile export that experiences major swings from quarter to quarter – climbed 63 percent, primarily because sales to China jumped 295 percent to $127 million, offsetting a 20 percent drop in sales to Canada.

The full fourth-quarter report can be seen here.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at Follow us on Twitter at


Upon request, this information can be made available in alternate formats for people with disabilities by contacting the DEED Communications Office at 651-259-7161.