Minnesota exports grew to $5.4 billion, representing growth of 1.5 percent between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019, according to a report recently released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). U.S. exports grew 1.4 percent during the same period.

Minnesota exports grew to markets within Europe (up 14 percent) and North America (up 4 percent), but they fell within Asia (down 8 percent) and Central and South America (down 1 percent).

“When our exporters succeed around the world, they grow our state’s economy, create jobs and build global reputations for our homegrown brands,” said Gov. Tim Walz.

“Even within an uncertain and challenging trade environment, Minnesota businesses continue to pursue their export strategies, expanding their reach into world markets,” said Steve Grove, DEED commissioner. “Minnesota continues to strengthen its business relationships in countries around the world.”

Canada ($1 billion) and Mexico ($621 million) were the state’s two largest export markets in the first quarter of 2019, with Mexico generating the largest gain in value among all markets. 

Other export market leaders were China ($606 million), Japan ($353 million), Germany ($310 million), Korea ($247 million), the United Kingdom ($161 million), Belgium ($142 million), Singapore ($141 million), and France ($129 million).

Optics and medical goods led the list of top exported products, with $1.1 billion in exports, representing an increase of 6 percent between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019. Other top exports were machinery ($879 million), electrical equipment ($728 million), plastics ($361 million), vehicles ($305 million), pharmaceuticals ($163 million), food by-products ($139 million), aircraft and spacecraft ($115 million), stone, plaster and cement ($96 million) and iron and steel products ($87 million).

The full first quarter report is available on DEED’s Web site. DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.

For more details about the agency and its services visit mn.gov/deed.