The full-year 2012 trade statistics are in from the U.S. International Trade Administration and Washington enjoyed a very good year. Overall, state exports reached a record $75.5 billion compared with $64.8 billion in 2011. In 2007, before the Great Recession hit, the total was $52 billion.
China continues to be our largest export market, followed by Japan and Canada. As one of the nation’s most trade-dependent states, Washington companies and growers sell literally all over the world. Transportation equipment, mostly jets and aerospace components, made up more than 50 percent of the dollar value in total merchandise trade. This was followed by agricultural products (16 percent), petroleum and coal (5 percent) and computer and electronic products (4.9 percent).
Elsewhere in the Northwest: Oregon exports totaled $18.3 billion, flat from the previous year; Idaho, $6.1 billion vs. $5.9 billion in 2011, and Alaska, $4.6 billion, down from $5.3 billion in 2011.
It is too soon to tell the effect of the KORUS trade agreement with South Korea. Nationally, exports to Seoul fell about a billion dollars to $42.3 billion. Washington, which is South Korea’s third-largest trading partner, exported $3.4 billion in merchandise and agriculture, up from $3.3 billion the previous year. I remain skeptical that KORUS will work in our favor while South Korea continues to manipulate its currency and maintain a host of stealth protectionist measures.
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Today’s Econ Haiku:
A fragile rebound
But foolish austerity
Makes us drop the ball