Arizona’s exports to foreign countries increased nearly 5 percent last year as foreigners took advantage of the weaker U.S. dollar to snap up more of Arizona’s electronics, machinery, vehicles and copper.
Exports in those categories offset slight declines in other Arizona staples such as aircraft and optics, according to figures compiled by the Arizona and U.S. commerce departments.
Arizona companies exported a record $19.2 billion in products last year, up from $18.3 billion in 2006.
“This exemplifies our state’s ability to produce goods that the rest of the world needs and wants,” said Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Mexico was again the largest buyer of Arizona products with $5.2 billion in purchases, although that was a slight decline from the previous year.
Canada showed a strong demand for Arizona goods, increasing its purchases by 16.4 percent to $2.1 billion, while exports to China grew by 10 percent to $1.3 billion.
By products, electronics and semiconductors remained the largest category of exports, growing by nearly 2 percent to $7.64 billion. Following were machinery, up 11.5 percent, and aircraft, down nearly 5 percent but still ranking third.
Vehicle sales were up nearly 13 percent, which reflects a loosening of Mexican restrictions on imports of used cars and trucks, said Eric Nielsen, director of the Arizona U.S. Export Assistance Center.
One of the biggest percentage increases among major categories was copper, which rose nearly 50 percent. That increase probably was the result of an expansion of Arizona’s capacity to produce finished copper as well as increasing foreign ownership of Arizona mining facilities, said George Leaming, owner of the Western Economic Analysis Center, who tracks Arizona copper industry.