Mississippi exports increased by $1.8 billion in 2012, bringing the state's total export value for the year to a record high of $11.8 billion that news according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA).
With the value of Mississippi exports increasing eight percent from 2011, the state ranked among the top 29 states for export growth in 2012. The strong exports performance of states like Mississippi helped contribute to a national record, as well; according to the ITA, exports from the United States totaled $2.2 trillion and supported nearly 10 million American jobs in 2012.
"Mississippi competes on a global scale, and we aggressively are seeking to grow our international presence through trade," Governor Phil Bryant said. "With more than 95 percent of the world's consumers living outside the United States, exporting opens new doors for companies looking to grow their businesses. I applaud the Mississippi firms that are exporting their products and services for their role in creating jobs and strengthening our state's economy, while also contributing to the national economy and our nation's record export figures."
Mississippi's largest export market in 2012 was Panama, which received $2.1 billion in merchandise exports from Mississippi companies. Canada was the state's second largest market for the year, with $1.9 billion in exports, followed by China with $864 million in exports and Honduras with $390 million in exports.
Mississippi's largest merchandise export category is petroleum and coal products, which accounted for $4 billion of the state's exports in 2012. Other top merchandise exports are chemicals, computer and electronic products, transportation equipment and paper.
"The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) stands ready to assist Mississippi businesses with their exporting needs, and I encourage companies considering exporting for the first time or expanding their current trade efforts to contact MDA's international trade specialists to learn how we can assist them," said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen. "MDA has provided technical assistance to Mississippi exporters for decades, and now, through the U.S. Small Business Administration-funded State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program, we also are able to provide financial assistance to small businesses looking to export their products and services to international markets."
The Mississippi STEP Program, administered by MDA's Trade Bureau, helps reduce some of the financial obstacles small businesses face when exploring exporting opportunities, offsetting costs related to participating in trade missions and other international business development activities.
The STEP Program reimburses eligible small businesses up to 50 percent of travel costs, including airfare and lodging and provides translation services at no cost. Other services may include scheduled pre-arranged appointments with prospective qualified buyers, local transportation assistance and a customized trip itinerary.
Currently, MDA is inviting Mississippi businesses to participate in two upcoming trade missions, an Asian trade mission from May 9 -- 17, 2013, which will include stops in Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, and a mission to Germany and Poland from May 20 -- 24, 2013. Small businesses participating in the two business development trips may be eligible for STEP Program assistance.
Businesses interested in learning more about upcoming business development missions or how the Mississippi STEP Program can assist them with exporting their products and services should contact one of MDA's International Trade Specialists at (601) 359-3155 or visit www.mississippi.org/trade .