Governor Steve Beshear today announced Kentucky's 2012 exports set a new all-time annual record, with $22 billion in sales of Kentucky-made products and services. With exports to 199 nations, the record represents a 10 percent growth from 2011, more than double the U.S. average growth rate of 4.5 percent.
Gov. Beshear applauded the record, saying it shows the efforts of the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) partners to encourage businesses to explore or expand their exporting opportunities have been paying off.
"This is a tremendous record for Kentucky, with $22 billion in exports surpassing last year's record by more than $2 billion," said Gov. Beshear. "This shows we are on the right path. Expanding markets by selling internationally is important to our business community, to our economy and to all Kentuckians."
Gov. Beshear created KEI to bring together agencies and organizations to help facilitate international trade opportunities for Kentucky businesses. Comprised of government entities, business organizations and trade experts, the KEI goal is simple: increase Kentucky exports, which will lead to new Kentucky jobs and create diversified markets for Kentucky products.
Motor vehicles and parts topped the chart with $4.4 billion in export sales. Aerospace products and parts were second, with $3.8 billion, while resin/synthetic rubber came in third, accounting for $1.4 billion in exports.
Kentucky's top trading partner once again is Canada, with $7.3 billion in products and services, with Mexico ($1.7 billion), United Kingdom ($1.5 billion), Japan ($1.3 billion) and Brazil ($1.15 billion) rounding out the top five. To further expand trade opportunities with its leading trade partner, the KEI will lead a four-day international business trade mission to Toronto in June 2013.
Companies wishing to participate in the trade mission can apply for a grant to help cover their costs, with grant assistance for the trade mission available through the U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program administered by the Cabinet for Economic Development. More information about the trade mission and STEP grant can be found at www.KYExports.com.
The Kentucky Export Initiative members include the following: Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives, Kentucky Association of Economic Development, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, World Trade Center Kentucky, U.S. Commercial Service, Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement including Commerce Lexington and Greater Louisville Inc., and Northern Kentucky International Trade Association.
Information on Kentucky's economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.