S.C. exports hit record $25.3B in 2012

Staff Report
Published March 1, 2013

South Carolina’s 2012 exports totaled nearly $25.3 billion in goods sold to 197 countries around the world, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The data show a 2.23% increase over 2011 totals, and a record for the state. In 2012, South Carolina’s export growth ranked the state 17th in the country.

2012 S.C. export rankings among states

  • Ranked 17th in exports
  • Ranked only behind California in exports to Germany
  • Ranked third in exports to Iraq and the Czech Republic
  • Ranked fourth in exports to Egypt, Hungary and Sweden
  • Ranked ninth in exports to China
  • Ranked first in exports of tires, holding nearly 30% of the share of U.S.-made exported tires
  • Ranked second in exports of gas turbines and automobiles
The state’s top 10 export industries last year were vehicles, machinery, rubber products, electrical machinery, plastics, optical and medical equipment, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals, wood pulp, and cotton, yarn and fabric. The three segments experiencing the largest percentage increase were optical and medical equipment at a 19% increase, rubber products at more than an 8.6% increase and plastics at more than an 8.2% increase.

“Our state manufactures the things people and industries around the world want to buy, and our growing export numbers show it. Canada, Germany and China remain very important export markets for South Carolina,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We look forward to building on our relationships with all our trading partners. Commerce’s export program is one way to do that, by helping South Carolina’s small-and medium-sized businesses enter new export markets.”

South Carolina ranked first among U.S. states in tire exports, holding nearly 30% of the share of U.S.-made exported tires for the second consecutive year. Those figures will soar even higher, as new tire-making capacity comes on line at construction projects for Bridgestone in Aiken and Continental Tire The Americas in Sumter.

Posting a 5.37% increase from 2011, Canada overtook Germany for the top spot as South Carolina’s No. 1 export market in 2012, purchasing nearly $4 billion in products.

Germany was a close second, purchasing more than $3.7 billion in products. China remained at No. 3 in 2012, purchasing more than $3.2 billion. Rounding out the top 10 export markets in 2012 in order of rank were Mexico at No. 4, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“South Carolina is rich in exports, both finished goods and agricultural products, which tend to be heavier to ship and which require access to deep water facilities like the Port of Charleston,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. State Ports Authority. “We expect exports from our port to outpace imports in the coming years, and we are making major strides to enhance our port’s infrastructure and deepen Charleston Harbor in order to continue the positive impacts trade brings to our state.”

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