Louisiana’s exports increased 5 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, according to figures released Thursday by the World Trade Center of New Orleans.
The overall value of Louisiana’s exports, measuring products that originated in and pass through the state, was $28.3 billion, up from $26.9 billion in the previous year.
It was a marked contrast to the previous quarter, when first-quarter exports had fallen from 2011’s record numbers by 4.9 percent, the WTC said in a press release.
Louisiana’s principal export markets for the second quarter were China, $3.07 billion, up 3.58 percent; Mexico, $2.81 billion, up 5.14 percent; and the Netherlands, $1.77 billion, up 9.7 percent, followed by Japan, Canada, Singapore, Chile and Egypt.
“This quarter was great for our state’s international businesses and shows how vital exports are to Louisiana’s economy,” WTC Chief Executive Officer Dominik Knoll said in the news release. “It’s clear that free trade is helping drive the growth in exports for Louisiana companies.”
Knoll pointed out the United States has only recently signed a free-trade agreement with Colombia, and it’s now a top-10 export destination.
Five of Louisiana’s top 10 export destinations are countries with which the United States has free-trade agreements — Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Chile and Colombia.
The state saw significant growth in all its leading manufacturing sectors. Petroleum and coal products was up by more than 23 percent at $10.7 billion. Also growing ahead of their 2011 pace were chemicals, totaling $4.25 billion, up 8.6 percent; machinery, $850 million, up 71.7 percent; primary metal manufacturing, $317 million, up 84.4 percent; and fabricated metal products, $295.6 million, up 66 percent.
Laggards were agricultural products, $7.79 billion, down 12 percent, and food manufacturers, $2.11 billion, down 7.7 percent.
“We’re beginning to see some of the effects of drought on agriculture exports,” Jerry Hingle, executive director of the Southern United States Trade Association, said in the release. “Corn, soybeans and other major commodities are being affected by drought conditions, which are more significant than what we’ve seen in at least 25 years.”
Exports for all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia totaled $773.3 billion, a 7 percent increase over the same period in 2011. Louisiana ranked No. 7 among U.S. states behind Texas, California, New York, Washington, Illinois and Florida.
“These numbers reflect strength in Louisiana’s manufacturing industries, and significant demand for our products throughout Latin America,” Larry Collins, the Louisiana economic development department’s director of international services, said in a release. “It’s a good rebound from the first quarter and I think it bodes well for the future.”