Value of Md. exports rose 22% in '92 Growth far outstrips increase nationwide

May 21, 1993|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Staff Writer

Growth in exports by Maryland companies far outpaced the national trend last year, according to the 1993 Maryland International Business Report released yesterday.

The value of Maryland exports rose to $4.9 billion in 1992, a 22 percent increase over the $4 billion value in 1991. By comparison, exports nationwide were up 6.1 percent, according to the report prepared by the Maryland International Division of the Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED).

But while the report, issued as part of the state's observance of World Trade Week, showed the total dollar value of exports increasing, the growth of foreign investment in Maryland slowed significantly in 1991 and 1992, following a surge in the late 1980s.

By the end of 1990, cumulative foreign investment in Maryland was $5.8 billion, with investments growing more than $1 billion in 1989 and 1990. In contrast, foreign investment in Maryland grew only $400 million in 1991 and 1992, according to data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

State officials blamed the worldwide recession for the slowdown in foreign investments. But they said this country's own recession prompted many company officials to market their products more aggressively overseas.

As a result, the state's ranking nationwide measured by the total value of exports rose to 23rd last year, from 28th in 1990, according to the DEED division.

"These companies, and their bottom lines, really have benefited from their participation in world markets," Gov. William Donald Schaefer said in a statement yesterday.

Transportation products, such as trucks, automobiles and railroad equipment, led Maryland's export market. State officials said each $1 million in exports supports about 19 jobs.

Canada remained Maryland's largest trading partner, with morethan $800 million worth of products shipped to that country, representing 18 percent of the state's total exports.

In other areas of international activity, traffic through the port of 00 Baltimore last year increased slightly to 25.8 million tons, compared with 23.8 million tons in 1991.

But international air cargo shipments through Baltimore-Washington International Airport declined in 1992. A total of 32.6 million pounds of air freight passed through BWI last year, compared with 35.8 million in 1991, which was a record year.

International tourism continued to increase, with an estimated 484,000 visitors. But the total number of international passengers at BWI dropped off in 1992 by 6 percent after increasing 77 percent over the previous two years. State officials have blamed the decline on cutbacks last May by USAir at its BWI hub.

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