COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina again posted a record year for export activity, with more than $26.1 billion in goods sold last year to 202 countries around the globe.
The 2013 figures, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, represent a nearly four percent increase in South Carolina's export value, which was $25.1 billion in 2012 and previously an all-time record for the state.
"Despite our relative size, South Carolina is a big state when it comes to our success in exporting, and it's great to see those numbers continue to grow," said Gov. Nikki Haley. "Our existing companies and the companies we recruit rely on getting their products to markets around the world, and South Carolina provides that access through a logistics network that can reach all corners of the globe."
The state's top 10 export industries last year were vehicles, machinery, rubber products, electrical machinery, plastics, aircraft, paper and paperboard, optical and medical equipment, organic chemicals and wood pulp.
Today's announcement comes on the heels of a record recruitment year for South Carolina, which in 2013 recruited $5.4 billion in capital investment by companies locating to or expanding in the state.
"South Carolina companies make quality products the world wants to buy," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Higher export activity reflects our state's strength in recruiting companies in the manufacturing sector as well as our success in foreign-direct investment. China is now both a significant partner in exporting as well as home to a number of companies making big investments in South Carolina."
For the first time, China surpassed Canada and Germany as the state's top export partner. In 2013, exports to China from the Palmetto State surged nearly 50 percent to $4.9 billion in the value of products purchased from South Carolina companies. In the same year, Chinese firms brought the second-highest contributions to foreign-direct investment in the state, with companies including JN Fibers and The Keer Group announcing new projects in the state. Canada, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom rounded out the state's top five export partners in 2013.
For the third consecutive year, South Carolina ranked first among U.S. states in tire exports, holding nearly 30 percent of the share of U.S.-made exported tires. Additionally, the Palmetto State ranked second in the export of automobiles to world markets.
"The rising production of export goods in South Carolina is a key driver of the SCPA's growth well above the industry average," said South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome. "Our natural, deepwater harbor facilitates the handling of heavier export goods, and through harbor deepening and other projects, the SCPA is preparing to meet the expanding needs of our state's exporters and support South Carolina's presence in the global marketplace."
2013 South Carolina export rankings among states:
- Ranked 17th in exports
- Ranked only behind California in exports to Germany
- Ranked 4th in exports to Czech Republic
- Ranked 5th in exports to Hungary
- Ranked 6th in exports to El Salvador
- Ranked 7th in exports to China
- Ranked 8th in exports to South Africa
- Ranked 10th in exports to Sweden, Egypt and Chile
- Ranked first in exports of tires, holding nearly 30 percent of the share of U.S. made exported tires (third year in a row)
- Ranked second in exports of automobiles to the world
The U.S. Department of Commerce is the data source for South Carolina's export statistics.
About S.C. Department of Commerce
As South Carolina's leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing businesses grow. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as Boeing, Bridgestone, Continental, Monster.com, ZF Group, BMW and Google Inc. and also supports small and existing business, rural development initiatives and community development. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. South Carolina ranked first in the national for attracting jobs through foreign investment, according to IBM-Plant Location International reports in both 2012 and 2013. The state won the Gold Shovel Award and the Project of Year Award from Area Development magazine in 2012. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.