Washington was one of 16 states that set a record for export sales in 2013, according to a new federal report.
Last year Washington exported $81.9 billion in goods, an 8.3 percent increase compared with 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Washington ranks fourth-highest among U.S. states, behind Texas, California and New York. U.S. exports totaled $2.3 trillion last year, also a national record.
The Port of Tacoma saw its container exports jump by 16 percent in 2013 to 529,255 container units. The port’s log exports also were up substantially last year. While grain exports were down in 2013 because of poor Midwest harvests in 2012, those exports are rebounding this year.
Just last week, five grain ships were awaiting loading at the port’s Temco grain terminal.
The port’s top exports last year were oil seeds and grain, $2.3 billion; industrial machinery, $1 billion; cereals, $636 million; and meat and meat products, $476 million.
The Port of Tacoma’s top trading partners were China, Japan and South Korea.
Washington’s export sales have grown significantly since 2010, when this state tallied $53.3 billion in goods. Last year China was the biggest purchaser of Washington products, at $16.7 billion, followed by Canada ($8.7 billion), Japan ($7 billion), United Arab Emirates ($4 billion) and Mexico ($3.2 billion).
Transportation, particularly airplanes made by Boeing, topped the list of items exported out of Washington. The transportation category totaled $44.6 billion, more than half of all goods exported out of Washington. Agriculture was next on the list at $10.3 billion, followed by petroleum/coal ($4.7 billion) and computer/electronics ($3.7 billion).
In a news release accompanying the data, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker estimates that for every $1 billion in exports, nearly 5,000 jobs are supported across the U.S.
“Exports will continue to be an important driver of the local and national economy,” Pritzker said.The Bellingham Herald and staff writer John Gillie contributed to this report.