Wisconsin exports increase 6% in 2017
Saudi Arabia becomes 4th most exported-to country, following Canada, Mexico and China

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Feb. 8, 2018

MADISON — Wisconsin exported 6.1 percent more goods in 2017 than the year before, much of which went to Canada, Mexico, and China.

According to an announcement Wednesday, the state exported goods and services worth $22.3 billion to 202 countries.

“Not only is Wisconsin becoming more attractive to global companies seeking to expand or establish operations in the U.S., but existing state businesses are experiencing more success in selling their products overseas,” Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement. “The boost in exports is yet another example of the economic success we experienced in 2017 and is a trend we expect to continue as more companies are accessing new markets and new customers through exporting.”

Exports to Canada grew by 4.3 percent to $6.9 billion, driven by increases in the export of miscellaneous mineral products and electrical machinery, according to the announcement, while exports to Mexico were up 4.8 percent for a record $3.2 billion. That increase was due mostly to an increase in the exportation of electrical machinery and oil seeds (primarily soybeans). In addition, exports to China jumped by 21.6 percent to $1.7 billion in 2017 — also a record for exports to that country. The reason provided for the growth in exports to China were the increases in the shipments of aircraft and parts; industrial machinery; dairy products; wood and wood products; and raw hides and skins.

Also increasing in the amount of exports received from Wisconsin was Saudi Arabia, which received a total of $796 million in goods and services from the state, attributed mostly to an increase in military vehicle exports. That was a 71.1 percent increase, moving Saudi Arabia from ninth place on the list of top export destinations in 2016 to fourth place in 2017.

Wisconsin exported more than $3.5 billion in agriculture products to 147 countries in 2017, a 3.6 percent increase over 2016. The state saw increases in agriculture exports to Canada (up 1.5 percent); Mexico (up 14.2 percent); China (up 27.6 percent) and Korea (up 0.3 percent).

Exports of dairy, eggs and honey products in 2017 were up 19.9 percent over 2016 to $297 million. The state ranks fifth in the U.S. in exports of those products.