West Virginia exports increase for second year

CHARLESTON — West Virginia exports increased for the second year in a row, reaching $8.1 billion in 2018, state officials said on Thursday.

West Virginia outpaced the national average growth rate in 2018 as exports increased 14.2 percent while the nation’s exports grew at 7.6 percent.

“To see our exports growing at almost double the national rate is truly incredible,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “Not only is it great news for our manufacturers who have made a home here in West Virginia and have seen their businesses grow because of it, but it is also wonderful to know that West Virginia’s products are making an impact all over the world and that everyone gets to see just how good we really are.”

Plastics, chemicals, automotive, metals, aerospace and hardwoods combined for more than $3 billion in exports from West Virginia. Notably, products and parts for the aerospace industry reported export growth at 17.8 percent over the previous year.

“This report highlights the ongoing, sustained and successful efforts in place to continue diversifying the economy in West Virginia,” said Mike Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office. “West Virginia manufacturers have proven they can deliver quality goods at a competitive price to customers located throughout the world.”

Coal continued to be the state’s primary export and led the nation, with more than $4.3 billion exported to 35 countries. India, Ukraine, Netherlands, Brazil, and Canada were the top five export markets for West Virginia coal.

Canada remained West Virginia’s largest trading partner with more than $1 billion in exports.

For the second year in a row, West Virginia saw an increase in exports to its No. 2 trading partner, India. West Virginia’s exports to India grew 46 percent in 2018.

The U.S. Census Bureau releases export data annually.

With products shipped to 142 countries in 2018, exports remain a critical component of West Virginia’s economy. The West Virginia Development Office works with small and medium-sized businesses to increase export sales and find reputable foreign business partners. Companies interested in pursuing international sales for the first time or looking to expand into new markets should contact the West Virginia Development Office to learn more about these services. Visit the West Virginia Development Office Export Assistance Program at http://westvirginia.gov/step.

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