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State’s exports set record in 2012

Mississippi exported a record total of $11.8 billion in goods in 2012, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Association.

That represents a $1.8 billion increase over 2011. The U.S.’s overall export value set a record in 2012, at $2.2 trillion. Mississippi’s bordering states, with the exception of Arkansas, all exported a higher value in 2012.

Mississippi’s largest export market in 2012 was Panama, which bought $2.1 billion in goods from the state. Canada was second, with $1.9 billion; China (($864 million) came in third.

Petroleum and coal products accounted for $4 billion of the state’s exports. Other common exports include chemicals, computers and other electronic devices, transportation equipment and paper.

“The Mississippi Development Authority stands ready to assist Mississippi businesses with their exporting needs, and I encourage companies considering exporting for the first time or expanding their current trade efforts to contact MDA’s international trade specialists to learn how we can assist them,” MDA executive director Brent Christensen said in a news release.

Christensen said The Mississippi STEP Program, administered by MDA’s Trade Bureau and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, is designed to reduce some of the financial obstacles small businesses face when entering the export market.

The program reimburses eligible small businesses up to 50 percent of travel costs, including airfare and lodging and provides translation services at no cost. Other services could include scheduled pre-arranged appointments with prospective qualified buyers, local transportation assistance and a customized trip itinerary.

The MDA has two upcoming trade missions planned. One is May 9-17 to Asia, with stops in Korea, the Phillipines, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. Another to Germany and Poland is planned for May 20-24.

Small business owners interested in either may be eligible for assistance from the STEP program.

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