France Replaces Canada As #1 Nation for Connecticut Exports in 2013

France replaced Canada as Connecticut’s top export partner in 2013.  Exports to France jumped from 1.9 billion to 2.4 billion, compared with the previous year, while exports from Connecticut to Canada remained steady at 1.9 billion.  During 2013, France received 14.8 percent of the state’s exports, while Canada received 11.6 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Germany (1.4 billion), United Arab Emirates (1.2 billion) and Mexico ($1.2 billion) round out Connecticut’s top five for 2013.  Germany also ranked third in 2012.   In 2013, UAE edged Mexico for fourth place among Connecticut’s leading export recipients, the reverse of their standing the previous year.    export chart

Overall, shipments of merchandise from Connecticut in 2013 totaled $16.5 billion, according to data from the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration – an increase of 3.2 percent from the previous year.  Connecticut was one of 16 states setting annual export records.  Exports were 15.9 billion a year ago, which was a drop from 16.2 billion in 2011 and 16.0 billion in 2010.

exportsOverall, the European Union was Connecticut’s largest export market, with average exports (2011-2013) totaling $6 billion annually, the agency’s report noted.

The state's largest merchandise export category is Transportation Equipment, which accounted for $8.0 billion of Connecticut's total merchandise exports in 2013, a category dominated by civilian aircraft, engines and parts, according to Commerce Department data. Other top merchandise exports are Machinery, Except Electrical ($1.9billion), Computer & Electronic Products ($1.3billion), Chemicals ($998 million), and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components ($760 million).

After the top five, Connecticut’s export recipients, in order, are China, United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Netherlands, Brazil, Malaysia, Qatar and Turkey, rounding out the top 15.

In a year-to-year comparison of 2013 to 2012, exports to France increased by a substantial 27 percent, to Singapore by 13.6 percent and to the UAE by 12.3 percent.  Exports to Columbia jumped 232 percent, from $66 million to $219 million.  Exports dropped slightly to Japan, China, Malaysia and the Netherlands.

The United States currently has free trade export mapagreements in force with 20 countries, which account for $5.0 billion (30 percent) of Connecticut’s exports. During the past 10 years, exports from Connecticut to these markets grew by 69 percent, with NAFTA, Korea, Singapore, Colombia, and Israel showing the largest dollar growth during this period, the agency reported.

Connecticut’s goods exports to all Trans-Pacific Partnership markets increased by 9 percent from 2011 to 2013. During this period, 29 percent of Connecticut’s total goods exports went to the TPP nations, which include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  In 2013, 44 percent of total U.S. exports went to TPP nations, where the U.S. has focused on “creating a high standard, regional agreement that opens new markets and knits together existing U.S. trade agreements,” according to the agency’s update report.

The U.S. set an all-time record 2.3 trillion in exports in 2013.  Joining Connecticut in reaching state export records (see interactive map) were Texas, California, Washington, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Maryland, Colorado and Oklahoma.

Over one-quarter (27.4 percent) of all manufacturing workers in Connecticut depended on exports for their jobs, according to 2011, the most recent available in that category.  A total of 6,020 companies exported from Connecticut locations in 2011. Of those, 5,357(89.0percent) were small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees. Small and medium-sized firms generated over one quarter (26.6percent) of Connecticut's total exports of merchandise in 2011.


Increasing International Exports is Key to State's Economic Development Plan

A recent update on Connecticut’s Economic Development Strategy includes a strong focus on international economic development, including upcoming efforts to extend business in Israel, Canada and France as part of broader plans to strengthen Connecticut’s brand in the global markets and grow the state’s trade footprint abroad.

As described by Beatriz Gutierrez, director of international business development efforts at the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), the department’s vision is “to position Connecticut as the destination of choice for companies looking to establish North American presence with preference to those in the areas of bioscience, precision manufacturing, fuel cells and renewable, and those looking to establish North American headquarters.”

The primary geographic targets for the state are China (which Gov. Malloy visited last year and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill visited last month), Germany and Western Europe (including the Paris Air Show this month), Israel (a CT-Israel Tech Summit will be held in Connecticut on June 12), and Brazil.  Goals include developing an international brand for the state, building an “opportunity pipeline,” and strengthening the relationship management process.

Meetings have been held with more than 50 companies and cluster associations in key industry segments, and a “concierge” program has been introduced in Europe.  During fiscal year 2012, DECD assisted in business exports to 39 countries for 62 state coCT boothmpanies, according to the DECD update.  The total assisted value of $548.6 million would equate to 2,785 jobs, according to DECD.  The department’s presentation added that unreported dollar amounts could account for “another 300 to 400 jobs, or more.”

The state has also been working closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration on international business growth, including the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program.  Among the initiatives in Connecticut are a SBA pilot-grant to help small businesses increase exports, and efforts to assist businesses with participation in regional and industry focused export opportunities and international business development opportunities. Connecticut received grant awards of $546,822 in the first year and $339,319 in the second year, supporting 178 Connecticut companies with partial reimbursements for international business initiatives.

At a trade show in Hannover, Germany in April, for example, the state’s booth featured five Connecticut hydrogen and fuel cell companies, which officials say produced strong leads from both Germany and Canada. Later this month, Connecticut will have a presence at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Conference in Vancouver, with three state companies on hand, and at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, with 13 companies slated to be present at Connecticut’s booth.  It is the state’s eighth consecutive year at the air show, and $162 million in new business has been reported by the companies who exhibit under the Connecticut display umbrella.

Earlier this year, DECD reported that Connecticut is home to “691 foreign affiliates” employing 106,500 in the state.  At the time, exports were said to exceed $16 billion annually. More recent data indicate that exports dropped about two percent between FY 2011 and FY2012, from $16.21 billion to $15.86 billion.  Next steps outlined by the state in the May 22, 2013 update include implementing a statewide international activity scorecard, monitoring global trends and identifying potential “sweet spots,” and strengthening strategic partnerships.