Washington’s exports plunged 33.9 percent in the year’s first half compared to the same period in 2008 – a $12.7 billion decrease.
“Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the country and we’re clearly feeling the global decline in trade,” said Anthony Hemstad, executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma. “Still, it is impressive that some Washington entrepreneurs are continuing to find expanded markets as we can see by dramatic increases in smaller categories like artwork. China is set to grow over 8 percent this year and more Washington companies should be looking to sell into those international economies that are actually expanding. This is one way we can help return Washington’s economy to health.”
The state’s exports decreased in many areas, the largest being by its leading export category, aircraft and parts. The industry’s 33.6 percent drop in exports amounts to a little more than half of the overall state decline at $6.8 billion. Some of Washington’s leading agricultural exports also saw major decreases, including oil seeds (-31.76 percent), cereals (-58.52 percent) and mineral fuel (-37 percent).
Nationwide exports dropped 24.6 percent. Geographically the District of Columbia was the only State/District to see an increase over this period. Exports from Washington, D.C. increased 15.4 percent. Washington State’s overseas markets in order of highest total dollar value for the first half of 2009 exports were; China, Canada, Japan, The United Arab Emirates and France.
While both aerospace and non-aerospace exports dropped by roughly one-third, there were also some smaller categories that bucked the trend and increased exports. Some standouts include a 1,905 percent surge in exports of basket ware and wicker ware products ($400,000 increase), a 338 percent jump in cork products ($800,000 increase), 296 percent more artwork exports ($31 million increase) and 255.6 percent more silks, yarn and woven fabrics ($50,000 increase). None of the State’s leading exports had such considerable percentage increases.