Kentucky exports up 12.6 percent, on track to top $22 billion

jpatton1@herald-leader.comAugust 13, 2013 

Exports of Kentucky-made products and services are up 12.6 percent, to $12.1 billion, for the first six months of the year.

Top export categories include motor vehicles, aerospace products and parts, pharmaceuticals and medicines, basic chemicals, and glass and glass products, according to the state.

The state's growth is second in the nation and significantly outpaces the national average of 1 percent, Gov. Steve Beshear said. Kentucky trails only New Hampshire, Beshear said.

"Kentucky is coming off a banner year for exports, and now with a mid-year total of $12.1 billion in exports, we are on pace to improve on last year's record-breaking total of $22 billion," Beshear said in a news release. "We have made the goal of increasing exports a key component of our economic development strategy. Ranking second in the nation in export growth is a reflection of those efforts and is a testament to the quality of Kentucky-made goods and services."

Exports of one of Kentucky's economic bright spots, bourbon, have dropped 2.74 percent, to $142 million, according the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

"There isn't less demand. It's a capacity issue," said Brad Thomas, a cabinet official. "They've run out of bourbon to sell."

Last year, Kentucky exported a record $315 million in bourbon, leaving the distilleries in short supply.

Earlier this summer, Beshear led a delegation of Kentucky Export Initiative partners and Kentucky companies on its first joint trade mission, visiting Canada, the state's largest trading partner.

Kentucky companies have exported to 192 countries so far this year, with the top destinations including Canada ($3.9 billion, up 8.2 percent), Mexico ($895 million, up 4.4 percent) and the United Kingdom ($830 million, up 17.9 percent).

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Kentucky ranked 11th in the United States for exports on a per capita basis last year, and 19th in total exports.

Kentucky's top exports

Category 2012 2013 % change

Aerospace and parts$1.8B $2.4B 33.3

Motor vehicles$1.3B $2.05B 59.4

Motor vehicle parts$847M $780M -7.9

Resin, synthetic.

rubber, etc$748M $723m -3.4

Pharmaceuticals, meds$571M $576M 0.7

Basic chemicals$477M $543M 14.0

Navigational, electromedical, controls$287M $282M -1.6

General machinery$209M $277M 32.5

Glass, glass products$59M $202M 242.7

Metalworking machinery$226M $196M -13.1

Sources: WISERTrade, State NAICS Database

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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