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Georgia experiences fourth record year in international trade

The state of Georgia experienced its fourth consecutive record year in international trade during 2012, exceeding the previous year's milestones in both imports and exports, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Georgia's exports were up 3.2 percent -- a $1.1 billion increase -- compared to 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released this month.

The total value of goods exported from Georgia totaled $35.8 billion, the most the state has ever exported in a single year and an indication that Georgia companies are aggressively pursuing international markets. Since the announcement of the National Export Initiative in 2009, exports from Georgia have grown 51 percent.

"These figures are a good sign for Georgia's economy," said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, in a press release. "Last year, companies in 79 percent of Georgia counties utilized our international trade services to expand their markets and strengthen their businesses.

"With the fastest-growing port in the country and a world-renowned international airport, Georgia already has the resources in place to provide a multitude of opportunities for exporters."

Georgia retained its ranking as the nation's 12th leading state in dollar value of exports. Canada, China, Mexico, Singapore and Japan all remained Georgia's top five export destinations and together accounted for 42 percent of the state's exports.

Georgia's leading export industries ranked by dollar value were non-electric machinery, aircraft/spacecraft, non-railway vehicles, electrical machinery and wood pulp. Georgia led all other states in the export of meat and edible offal of poultry; chemical wood pulp, soda or sulfate; cotton; kraft paper and paperboard; chemical wood pulp, dissolving grade; carpet; kaolin; and peanuts.

The state's imports outpaced exports by approximately $36.5 billion. Georgia companies imported more than $72 billion in goods in 2012, an increase of 8 percent ($5.4 billion) over 2011. Georgia ranked ninth among U.S. states and second in the Southeast in dollar value of imports.