WASHINGTON – Rhode Island merchandise exports increased 9 percent during the first half of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, growing from $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion, according to data released by the International Trade Administration.
The 9 percent growth in merchandise exports topped the 7 percent national growth seen in the same period.
“Exports are an increasingly important part of Rhode Island’s economic recovery as local businesses both big and small start to look beyond our borders to increase their customer base,” Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade, said in a statement.
“The International Trade Administration is committed to helping Rhode Island businesses leverage financing and other key resources to boost exports that support thousands of good, high-paying jobs across the state,” added Sanchez.
During the first six months of 2012, Rhode Island’s merchandize exports to the United Arab Emirates grew 499 percent, exports to Japan grew 363 percent, exports to Taiwan grew 190 percent, those to Turkey grew 183 percent and exports to Italy grew 136 percent over 2011 figures.
According to the International Trade Administration, Rhode Island’s key merchandise export categories included waste and scrap, chemicals, primary metal manufactures, machinery manufactures and miscellaneous manufactures.
“The growth in Rhode Island export numbers help demonstrate that there’s every incentive for U.S. companies to be pursuing export opportunities,” Keith Yatsuhashi, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Rhode Island, said in a statement. “Foreign buyers have a high appreciation for U.S. brand-name products and services, and there’s no better time than now to start exporting.”
The ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service entered into a strategic partnership with the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, according to the release.
The organizations are working to increase export awareness among the state’s small and medium-sized businesses. The ITA and the EDC plan to participate in joint marketing and outreach and co-host trade events and seminars.