Washington Ag Exports Up 20 Percent

Washington Ag Exports Up 20 Percent

Farm export level increases optimism in off-shore sales.

Washington State reports record fiscal 2011 sales of $241.3 million from state export assistance.

The increase, a 20% leap, was documented by the Washington State Departments of Agriculture and Commerce in late October.

Both agencies are encouraging more businesses to consider export strategies.

State programs at Commerce and WSDA provide small and medium size businesses with export training and counseling, facilitate international trade show participation, and assist with trading partner and market introductions.

"Jobs are the way out of this recession and getting Washingtonians back to work is my number one priority," says Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. "One of our strengths is trade – already one in three Washington jobs is tied to trade. But other countries have a much higher percentage of their companies exporting their products and services.

"That's why I launched the Washington Export Initiative to increase the number of companies exporting by 30% by 2015. We've seen that many companies growing through the recession are those that access global markets.

"This is true of our traditionally strong sectors of agriculture, aviation and aerospace, software and global health-life sciences, as well as emerging sectors like clean tech."

Four percent of Washington companies are engaged in exporting today, four times the national average, but 6% of Canadian companies export and in Germany and the United Kingdom, the number is closer to 9%; Australia is 15%.

The WSDA International Marketing Program continues to pay for itself, with $3.38 in additional tax revenues due to economic development for every taxpayer dollar invested in the program. For the next five years, WSDA has set a goal to assist an additional 1,000 exporters to make $300 million in export sales.

"Agriculture exports have remained a bright spot in Washington's economy for the last several years," says Dan Newhouse, WSDA director. "The value of crops and livestock produced, food processing employment and exports of farm products have been strong.

"Innovative Washington growers will continue to feed the world and with WSDA's help, more farms and food businesses will join the ranks of our successful exporters."

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