Wyoming exports boom in 2011

Apr 17, 2012 The Associated Press

CASPER -- Last year was big for Wyoming overseas and across borders.

Wyoming exports shot up by nearly a quarter last year, on the strength of stronger soda ash sales and much-expanded sales of uranium, liquefied natural gas, bentonite and industrial equipment and parts.

Exports climbed from $983 million in 2010 to $1.2 billion last year -- a 24 percent jump -- and topped the previous three years, according to the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. The state's export growth beat the average 16 percent growth in exports nationally during the same period.

Wyoming boosted exports of soda ash, which dominates the state's export market and is predominantly used to make glass, by $77 million last year.

While the state's other exports pale in comparison to soda ash, a number of products saw big boosts in exports last year or were sold for the first time.

Wyoming exported tens of millions of dollars' worth of air and gas pumps, compressors and fans, as well as uranium, liquefied natural gas and light oils other than crude.

"The growth in Wyoming exports shows that even in these challenging economic times, many local companies are working to enhance their competitiveness and bottom line by making new sales abroad," said Paul Bergmann Jr., director of the International Trade Administration's U.S. Commercial Service in Colorado and Wyoming, in a media release.

America's neighbors to the north and south are major destinations for Wyoming products. Canada and Mexico -- both members with the U.S. in the North American Free Trade Agreement -- combined to buy one-third of Wyoming's exports. Canada alone purchased a quarter of goods sold from the state.

Anne Alexander is an economist and director of International Programs at the University of Wyoming. She termed such sales to Canada and Mexico "close and big," while and added Brazil to the list.

Nearly half of Wyoming exports go to destinations in the Western Hemisphere, including oil field equipment to the Caribbean and mining machinery to Chile.

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