Value of Arkansas Exports Rises 6.5 Percent in 2011

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 12:00 am  

Arkansas companies saw the value of their exports rise 6.5 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, beneficiaries of an improving global economy.

And so far, 2012 is on track to post a much bigger increase in exports, helped by a federal initiative and recent free trade agreements that are making Arkansas products more competitive in the world marketplace.

(Lists: Click here (PDF) to view the complete list of Arkansas exports.)

In addition, a couple of local organizations, such as the World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers and the Arkansas U.S. Export Assistance Center in Little Rock, continue their push to introduce more Arkansas goods and services to the rest of the world.

The total value of Arkansas exports rose to $5.6 billion in 2011, a 6.5 percent increase that reversed a decline: In 2010, their value fell 2.1 percent compared with 2009, and in 2009, their value declined 8.8 percent compared with 2008.

The good news has continued into this year. In August, the International Trade Administration, part of the U.S. Commerce Department, reported that the value of Arkansas exports increased to $3.8 billion in the first half of 2012, compared with $2.8 billion in the first six months of 2011.

“Several countries sharply increased their demand for Arkansas products — Indonesia by 228 percent, Germany by 178 percent, Brazil by 170 percent and France by 116 percent,” the agency said.

And in the first nine months of this year, the value of Arkansas exports has risen 28.3 percent compared with the first nine months of 2011, increasing to $5.5 billion over last year’s $4.3 billion in the comparable period, said Eric Johnson, senior international trade specialist at the Export Assistance Center, which is headed by Director Sean Kelley.

The Export Assistance Center has seen a continued increase in the number of companies voicing an interest in exporting their goods and services and asking for the center’s help, Johnson said in an emailed response to questions from Arkansas Business.

He added that based on figures so far this year, “we expect 2012 will finish at levels more consistent with the pre-global financial crisis.”

The level of state exports to foreign countries is improving as both Arkansas and the nation’s economies recover from “the global economic crisis that made a significant impact on 2010 and 2009 levels,” Johnson said.

“Exports have sustained thousands of Arkansas companies over this period, with companies able to diversify their sales across domestic and international accounts,” Johnson said.



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