Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
March 2004
Wisconsin Exports Grow in 2003
Export sales by Wisconsin firms grew by 7.73 percent in 2003 and totaled $11.5 billion. Wisconsin's exports outpaced those of the nation as a whole, which grew by 4.4 percent. Wisconsin ranks 19th among the 50 states in export volume. Of Wisconsin's top 25 export destinations, 19 bought more from Wisconsin in 2003 than in 2002. Wisconsin firms shipped product to 198 foreign countries and customs territories.

Canada continues to be Wisconsinís leading export destination. Nearly 38 percent of the state's exports are shipped to our northern neighbor. Our exports to Canada grew by 10.86 percent last year and totaled $4.3 billion. Spark-ignition engines, motor vehicles, and centrifuges are the three leading categories of products shipped to Canada. The first category grew by over 45 percent.

Mexico is Wisconsin's third-largest export customer. Exports to Mexico increased by 9.91 percent. Mexico is a major market for auto parts, padlock parts, and air conditioning units.

Japan is Wisconsin's second-largest export destination, but exports there declined by 14.72 percent. Much of that decline can be attributed to a 31.29-percent decrease in shipment of engine parts. In 2002 that category had grown by over 1,000 percent in response to major shipments destined for U.S. military facilities on Okinawa. Sales of x-ray machinery were also down significantly.

Exports to China grew by 52.70 percent, and that country surpassed the United Kingdom and Germany to become our fourth-largest international market. China vaulted past France, Japan, and Canada last year to become our top market for medical equipment. It is also our number one market for office machine parts, rawhides and skins, soybeans, plants used for medical or cosmetic purposes, printed circuits, and whey and milk products.

Exports to the European Union, which were down in 2002, rose by 6.26 percent in 2003. Exports to Central Europe and the former Soviet Union grew by 41.52 percent. Major growth categories include medical equipment, tractors, and office machine parts. Exports to the Middle East were up by 7.37 percent, primarily due to a surge in shipments of motor vehicles to the United Arab Emirates, our number two customer in that category after Canada. Exports to Australia and Oceania grew by 11.38 percent. Exports to Africa were up 10.16 percent after two years of declines. Exports to Southeast Asia were basically flat. Exports to South America were down for the third year in a row.

Industrial machinery is Wisconsin's major export product category and accounts for 33.79 percent of the total. Wisconsin ranks eighth among the 50 states in this category. Major subcategories include engines, centrifuges and filters, automatic data processing machines, office machine parts, and earth moving machinery. Wisconsin is the third-ranked exporting state for spark ignition internal combustion engines as well as engine parts.

The number-two category is scientific and medical equipment, which accounts for 13.96 percent of the total. Overall, Wisconsin ranks seventh in that category, but is fourth for medical and surgical devices and second for x-ray machinery.

Wisconsin agricultural exports account for 10.70 percent of the state total. The state ranks 18th among the 50 states. The top five markets for Wisconsin's agricultural exports are Canada, China, Korea, Japan, and Mexico.

For more information on Wisconsinís exports, contact Stanley Pfrang, (608) 267-0639 or spfrang@commerce.state.wi.us.

-- Stanley Pfrang

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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