Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary for the International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.
Now more than ever, U.S. businesses know how important it is to take advantage of export opportunities around the world. From coast to coast, businesses are selling their world-class goods to the more than 95 percent of potential customers who live outside our borders. The 2015 Metropolitan Area Export Overview is a clear indicator of this movement, as many cities have increased exports or even set records. And along with the nation’s largest metropolitan areas sending out more American goods, many smaller areas have also set trade records.
Now to the numbers: U.S. metropolitan area goods exports exceeded 1.3 trillion in 2015, and accounted for 89 percent of goods exported from the United States. There were 156 metro areas that exported more than $1 billion of goods to consumers around the world. There were 14 metro areas that exported more than $20 billion of goods in 2015.
Let’s look at a couple examples: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington; and El Paso Texas, both of which set records in 2015, have experienced impressive growth from 2009 to 2015. The Seattle area was ranked in the top five for 2015, while El Paso, Texas ranked in the top 20.
El Paso registered double-digit export growth in 2015, shipping $24 billion in goods abroad. El Paso has made impressive increases since 2009; this year representing a 22 percent increase from 2014, and a 217 percent increase from 2009. The city’s largest export goods categories included computers and electronic products; electrical equipment, appliances; and transportation equipment. Exceptionally, El Paso area sent 93.5 percent of its goods exported to markets where the United States has trade agreements enforced.
The Seattle area sent more than 25 percent of its goods exports to markets where the United States has trade agreements. Their exporting categories ranged from transportation equipment to computer & electronic products to fishing, hunting, and trapping goods.
It’s clear that both Seattle and El Paso, among the nation’s many metro areas, large and small, are making developments towards a more globalized market.
The Department of Commerce and the Obama Administration continue to focus on supporting U.S. jobs and raising wages. This includes efforts to sign high-standard agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Accessibility for U.S. exporters to the largest and most competitive markets has become top priority over the duration of the Administration. In fact, markets with Free Trade Agreements in force accounted for more than half of the total goods exports for 195 metropolitan areas.
For more information on the contributions of metro areas to U.S. exports, download your free copy of fact sheets for the top 50 exporting metro areas.