The value of Arizona exports to foreign countries set a record in 2005, surpassing the previous high in 2000, according to figures released Thursday by the Arizona Department of Commerce.
Total exports by Arizona businesses reached $14.9 billion last year, up 11.4 percent from the previous year and surpassing the previous record of $14.1 billion in 2000, the department said.
Arizona exports took a dip in 2001 and 2002 as the hightech bust and global economic recession took its toll. A recovery began in 2003, but exports did not surpass the 2000 level until last year.
“We slowed down after 9/11, and we’re just recuperating,” said Commerce Department trade specialist Fernando Jimenez.
Last year Mexico retained its usual position as the number one foreign market for Arizona exports, posting a 25 percent gain over 2004.
High-tech electronic products such as computers and semiconductors were the top exports to that country, Jimenez said.
Canada remained a distant second with an increase of 16.5 percent while Malaysia retained its No. 3 status with a 4.6 percent gain. The United Kingdom and Germany rounded out the top five.
As a region Asia continued to be important with five countries in the top 10. Exports to No. 6 Singapore jumped by 20 percent, primarily because of an increase in electronics shipments, the department said. Exports to China grew by 3 percent, which was the state’s seventh largest foreign market. Shipments to No. 9 Thailand grew by 18 percent and to No. 10 Japan by 17 percent.
Three European countries were in the top 10. In additional to the UK and Germany, the Netherlands ranked No. 8 with a whopping 284 percent increase over the previous year. Jimenez said the jump was due to an increase in shipments of mineral ores that were in high demand in Holland.
Electronics, aircraft and mining products were the top exports to Britain and Germany.
By category, exports of electronic goods jumped 11 percent last year to a total of $6.1 billion, machinery increased 9.5 percent to $2.3 billion, aircraft dropped 10 percent to $1.4 billion, optics and medical instruments increased 6 percent to $949 million and ores and metals increased 9 percent to $504 million.
Intel Corp. is one of the state’s major exporters, shipping chips from its Chandler factories to the company’s assembly and test centers in Malaysia, the Philippines and China where they are incorporated into the final microprocessor packages, said spokeswoman Dawn Jones.
Another important East Valley exporter is the Boeing Co., which ships Apache Longbow combat helicopters to foreign customers from its Mesa plant. Last year the company delivered 27 Apache Longbows to international customers, said spokesman Hal Klopper.