Each year, exports keep growing to record levels in West Virginia.
The governor’s office recently reported that the state’s exports in 2012 totaled $11.3 billion, surpassing 2011’s record performance of $9 billion.
“Exports are a valuable contributor to our state’s economic growth and stability,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a press release. “While coal continues to be our traditional strength, our top exports also included manufactured products such as plastics, chemicals, machinery and components for medical, automotive and aerospace applications.”
In 2012, the state saw a 25 percent increase in exports compared to the previous year, and also beat the 4.6 percent growth rate that the United States experienced. In fact, this is the third year in a row that West Virginia’s exports climbed to an all-time high.
“We’ve had steady growth,” said Steve Spence, director of the International Division of the West Virginia Development Office.
For many years, the state’s exports were in the range of about $2 billion, but in 2004, the number increased to $3 billion and stayed around that amount for several years, he said. Exports grew to $5.6 billion in 2008, and then dropped down to $4.8 billion in 2009 with the world recession. In 2010, exports amounted to $6.4 billion, and continued to go up to $9 billion in 2011 and $11.3 billion last year.
In 2011, there was a 39.5 percent growth in exports from West Virginia, which led the nation with the largest percentage increase. The country’s growth rate that year was 15.8 percent.
Spence said four or five other states had a higher percentage of export growth in 2012 compared to West Virginia. So while West Virginia didn’t see the largest increase this time, it was among the state’s with the highest growth.
For West Virginia to see huge gains in 2011 and again increase its exports by 25 percent in 2012 was very significant, he said.
“The huge increase is due to coal,” Spence said.
In West Virginia, coal — at $7.4 billion — was the product with the largest export sales in 2012, and that represented 49 percent of coal exports in the country. The state’s coal exports were only $5.3 billion in 2011.
Spence said the increase in coal exports in the state is tied to the world energy demand. While small businesses with non-coal exports don’t see the huge numbers that coal companies do, they are also growing in terms of exports.
After coal, plastics and machinery followed as the leading product sectors, at $1 billion and $834 million, respectively. As a whole, non-coal exports reached $3.67 billion, which was also a record, he said.
Companies in West Virginia sold their products to 136 countries last year.
The following countries were the state’s leading trading partners for coal exports: Netherlands, Italy, India, China, Brazil, South Korea, United Kingdom, Turkey, Japan and France. For non-coal exports, the top markets were: Canada, China, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Brazil, South Korea and United Kingdom.
Exports to China and Japan grew dramatically in 2012, Spence said.
“The products we produce here are products that are needed around the world,” he said. “In a smaller state like West Virginia, for a company to sell products and to continue to grow it’s necessary that they look beyond their borders. There’s great opportunities around the world and our companies are good at looking for those opportunities and finding business.”
An increase in exports can help a small company in keeping jobs and adding new positions. Spence said the International Division of the West Virginia Development Office primarily works with small and medium-sized manufacturers to help market them.
The United States only makes up 5 percent of the world’s population. Companies in West Virginia are very interested in exporting to overseas markets in order to reach out to the other 95 percent of the world that is outside of the United States, he said.
While exporting can be difficult, it’s very possible, Spence said. Companies may be worried about payments from international customers or about logistics like shipping, but the International Division can guide businesses to resources to ease those concerns.
The division has representatives that can meet with companies to help them determine what their best markets are for exporting. The entity also works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service, which has offices around the world, and sponsors trade shows and trade missions in different countries to help hook West Virginia businesses up with potential buyers overseas.
Spence said the Development Office’s International Division expects to see a continued increase in exports in the future, but it’s hard to know what type of growth the state will experience because of other factors that are involved.
For more information on the International Division of the West Virginia Development Office and its services, visit www.worldtradewv.com.
Email Jessica Borders at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.
$11.3 billion in 2012 contributes to state’s growth, stability
Each year, exports keep growing to record levels in West Virginia.
Report shows ‘true drivers’ affecting coal industry
A new report examines the major factors causing the significant decline in coal production in the region and the continuing trend into the future.
On May 14, Morgantown-based Downstream Strategies LLC released a report titled “The Continuing Decline in Demand for Central Appalachian Coal: Market and Regulatory Influences.”
Spin Cycle Laundry Service launches June 1
Spin Cycle’s mission is to help the community by providing a quality, affordable service.
This locally owned laundry service will officially launch on June 1. The new business, owned by lifelong Mannington resident Diana Sypolt, will serve all of Marion County.
GNC moves to new location in White Hall
GNC remains committed to helping customers “Live Well” and stay healthy at its new location in White Hall.
This corporate General Nutrition Centers store recently moved into the newly constructed, three-shop plaza beside Bob Evans, at 9642 Mall Loop Road, after being located in the Middletown Mall for many years.
Marketplace Fairness Act helps level playing field for small businesses
Local business professionals like the fact that the Marketplace Fairness Act would treat all retail equally in terms of sales taxes.
On May 6, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 was passed in the U.S. Senate by a 69-27 vote.
Morgantown conference designed to help small businesses prosper
The Teaming to Win Conference is designed to help small businesses in West Virginia grow and find success.
The event will take place at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown on Tuesday, May 28, and Wednesday, May 29.
nTelos Wireless has new home in White Hall
nTelos Wireless is offering savings on the latest products and services at its new home in White Hall.
After being located inside the Middletown Mall for about 10 years, the business basically moved across the street into the new shopping plaza beside Bob Evans, at 9640 Mall Loop Road.
Winners named in West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition
The West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition continues to help bring business ideas to life for young entrepreneurs.
Beach Coffee Co.: Drinks and much more
Drinking coffee is a big tradition for Jennifer Beach and her family.
On April 6, Jennifer officially opened her business, Beach Coffee Co., at 200 Buffalo St., in Mannington. It’s located beside Country Prim & Folksy in the building that formerly housed Once Upon A Tea Room.
Diane Lewis named W.Va. Small Business Person of the Year
Diane Lewis never imagined that her Morgantown-based company would see so much success.
On April 17, the U.S. Small Business Administration surprised Lewis, president and CEO of Action Facilities Management Inc., at her business office to announce that she had been named the 2013 West Virginia Small Business Person of the Year.
Anthony Chevrolet Cadillac remodeling done
Anthony Chevrolet Cadillac’s recent remodeling project is pleasing customers as well as employees.
The dealership, located at 1229 Country Club Rd. in Fairmont, has gone through a major renovation involving improvements to both the exterior and interior, said Jo Marie Pitrolo, dealer of Anthony Chevrolet Cadillac.
- More Business Headlines
- Report shows ‘true drivers’ affecting coal industry