The U.S. Commerce Department reported in 2012 that Houston ranked No. 1 with total exports of $110 billion, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2011, while New York clinched the No. 2 spot with $102 billion in exports.
In 2012, the nation’s top 50 metropolitan areas exported collectively more than $1 trillion in merchandise worldwide, an increase of nearly $43 billion from 2011.
Thirty-one of the top 50 metropolitan-area exporters recorded positive growth in exports between 2011 and 2012. Twenty-nine of these areas set record exports last year, the department said.
Among the top 25 metropolitan areas, the Washington, D.C., metro area recorded the highest growth between 2011 and 2012, increasing exports by nearly 43 percent. Other metropolitan areas that exhibited high growth in exports included San Antonio, Texas (up more than 33 percent from 2011), and Seattle (up more than 22 percent from 2011).
Twenty-two metropolitan areas accounted for 40 percent of their state’s total export activity in 2012. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; and Salt Lake City all represented more than 80 percent of their state exports, while Seattle; Detroit; and Boise, Idaho, accounted for more than 70 percent of their state merchandise exports.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Mexico and Canada were the leading destinations for many metropolitan-area exports. For example, exporters in the Detroit metropolitan area targeted these countries, with exports totaling $20.2 billion and $16.8 billion to Mexico and Canada, respectively in 2012.
U.S. metropolitan area trade with Mexico increased substantially in 2012, with metropolitan area exports expanding by 9.1 percent between 2011 and 2012. In comparison, the growth rate for U.S. metropolitan-area exports to the world was 4.3 percent during the period. “The largest metropolitan-area exporters to Mexico are dominated by metropolitan areas that are geographically close to Mexico and that have fostered supply chain relationships with the country. Los Angeles and San Diego in California, and Houston, El Paso, Dallas, Laredo, and Brownsville in Texas are ranked among the top 10 metropolitan exporters to Mexico,” the Commerce Department said.
In 2010, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Since then, merchandise exports from metropolitan areas have increased nearly 40 percent, the department noted.