Maryland exports up 27 percent over 2007

March 04, 2009|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

A weak U.S. dollar and aggressive marketing of Maryland goods and services helped boost the state's exports to a record high of $11.4 billion last year, a 27 percent jump over 2007 and more than double the nation's 12 percent export growth rate, state officials said yesterday.

About 5,000 companies in Maryland exported goods to 200 countries, with Canada, the top destination, receiving $1.5 billion in exports and Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom receiving $2 billion, the state Department of Business and Economic Development said. Most of those Maryland companies had fewer than 500 employees.

But state officials cautioned that the recession and deepening financial crisis would most likely dampen the export business in 2009.

"While we may not see the same growth this year, we are continuing to work with Maryland companies to identify export-friendly markets, minimizing the cost and risk of market entry," said Christian S. Johansson, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Between 2004 and 2008, the state saw its export business grow 97 percent, making Maryland the 14th fastest-growing exporter state in the nation, said Bob Walker, managing director of international investment and trade for the DBED. Some of the state's bigger exporters include Northrop Grumman Corp., Middle River Aircraft Systems and W.R. Grace & Co. The leading export categories are vehicles and transportation equipment, a Commerce Department category that can include parts and other items used in manufacturing.

DBED's division of international investment and trade offers assistance to small and mid-size companies and helps them coordinate trade and missions. The department also offers grants of up to $5,000 to companies through its ExportMD program.

Harmans-based American IV Products Inc., which makes replacement parts for patient monitoring equipment and IV pumps, was awarded a grant last year that allowed company representatives to attend the world's biggest medical trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany, said Jim Huggins, the company's director of business development. The company also got help from Maryland's foreign trade offices overseas, Huggins said.

The company had exported some products since its founding in 1983 but began more extensive exporting in 2003 and now sells products to dealers in Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

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