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Austin Sets Export Record: $9 Billion


Exporting everything from semiconductors to barbecue sauce, the Austin metropolitan area set a new $9 billion record for exports in 2012.

The total was an increase of 4.1 percent, or $350 million, according to an announcement yesterday by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA). The announcement says the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area was the 35th largest U.S. export for 2012. 

"Whether its artistic, or scientific, social, or entrepreneurial, creativity is at the heart of who Austin is - and, who the world has recognized us to be," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said in a statement. "The past couple of years have seen venture capitalists investing over $1.2 billion in Austin-area companies, most of them technology companies, so it's no surprise to me that the metro area is exporting at a record pace."

The ITA's international trade figures released yesterday says that 153 U.S. metropolitan areas exported more than $1 billion in 2012. In total, 29 out of the 50 top metropolitan areas reached record exports in 2012.

According to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. exports support nearly 10 million American jobs. She says that businesses that sell their goods abroad are responsible for supporting local economies. Because of that, she says the Department of Commerce is committed to helping businesses increase their export potential.

The Commerce Department and American businesses are working together to meet the President's National Export Initiative (NEI). The NEI says it hopes to double U.S. export numbers by the end of 2014. Since the NEI was established in 2010, merchandise exports for metropolitan areas have increased by almost 40 percent. 

The U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center and the city of Austin hosts international trade education classes to help small businesses with their export knowledge. You can learn more here

Top Austin export sectors:

  • Computer and electronic products - $5.9 billion.
  • Machinery - $2.2 billion.
  • Electrical equipment - $188 million.
  • Chemicals - $158 million.
  • Miscellaneous manufacturers - $111 million.

Top countries Austin exports to:

  • South Korea - $3.4 billion.
  • Taiwan - $1.0 Billion.
  • Mexico - $612 million.
  • Malaysia - $497 million.
  • China - $397 million.

Sebastian Herrera is an intern reporter for KUT News. He is also a sports writer for The Daily Texan and a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently working towards his bachelor's degree and concentration in sports journalism. Sebastian was born in Bogotá, Colombia and grew up in Dallas, TX.
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