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West Virginia Exports Jump 43 percent in first half of 2011

Check out this article from the Charleston Daily Mail:

State exports jump 43 percent in first half of 2011
by George Hohmann
Daily Mail Business Editor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s exports soared 43 percent in the first six months of 2011, led by coal, the state Department of Commerce announced.

Exports for the first half of the year totaled $4.4 billion, up from $3.1 billion during the same period a year ago, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

West Virginia outpaced the U.S. growth rate of 18 percent in the period.

The state’s first half results indicate West Virginia is on track to meet or exceed last year’s record level of exports, the state noted. West Virginia’s exports totaled $6.4 billion in 2010.

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a prepared statement, “West Virginia businesses large and small are succeeding in worldwide trade. Exporting is essential to our state’s continued economic growth. International sales help to create and retain jobs in West Virginia. We encourage our businesses to explore this potential for growth.”

The state’s top five export sectors and the amount exported in the first half of 2011 were: coal, $2.6 billion; plastics, $575.1 million; machinery, $372.4 million; medical products, $126.9 million; and organic chemicals, $119.6 million.

The fastest-growing sectors were: coal, up from $1.33 billion in the first half of 2010 to $2.56 billion in the first half of 2011 – a 93 percent increase; plastics, up 18 percent; medical products, up 44 percent; and aerospace components, up 18 percent.

Several coal companies with mines in West Virginia have been focusing on metallurgical coal, which is used in steelmaking. It commands a significantly higher price than steam coal, which is used to generate electricity. There have been reports that steam coal exports also have grown.

Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said, “We’re shipping coal to India and China, and some countries, including Germany, are closing their nuclear power plants and going back to coal generation. You would think that would be a real message to this country.”

Raney called the export figures “fabulous news for everyone in West Virginia.

“It converts to revenues for the state, keeps the miners working, and the real puzzling thing is all these other countries are wanting our coal and wanting us to mine coal, yet we can’t break the federal permit logjam,” he said.

“One would think that the federal government would try to do everything possible to keep this positive economic activity going forward, when you’re trying to rebuild America.”

West Virginia’s top trading partners, as measured in dollars, during the first half of 2011 were: Canada, Brazil, India, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, China, Ukraine, United Kingdom and South Korea.

The data can be somewhat misleading. For example, the Netherlands is listed as a top trading partner but it has a big port and products that go there often end up somewhere else in Europe.

The state said more than 17 percent of all manufacturing jobs in West Virginia depend on exports. The total number of jobs in West Virginia that rely on exports is hard to estimate.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has estimated that every $1 billion in exports creates 15,000 jobs, but the number may vary widely by industry.

The state has been keen on promoting exports for many years. The state Development Office’s International Division maintains trade offices in Munich, Germany, and Nagoya, Japan. The division provides consulting and other services aimed at helping West Virginia companies build international business relationships.

Additional information about the state’s programs is available by visiting the division’s website at www.worldtradewv.com or by calling Debra Martin at 304-957-2042 or Caitlin Ashley at 304-957-2014.

Contact writer George Hohmann at busin…@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.

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admin in Uncategorized on August 25 2011 » Comments are closed.