On Friday, November 8, 2013, US President Obama visited New Orleans, Louisiana to talk about boosting U.S. exports. Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal accompanied President Obama during his visit. Louisiana has had strong growth in locally-produced exports in recent years, including an increase of 3.4% in 2013. Louisiana depends heavily on world markets, particularly markets in Asia. For goods in Louisiana, the top export destinations in Asia are Singapore ($2274 million), China ($1891 million), South Korea ($831 million), India ($739 million), and Japan ($656 million). Approximately 18% ($7,960 million) of Louisiana’s goods exports went to Asia in 2012.
Louisiana is also an important trans-shipment port for American products.[i] According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, the state’s largest market for trans-shipment is China. Louisiana posted merchandise exports of $9.3 billion to China in 2012, 14.8% of the state’s total merchandise exports. China was followed by Japan ($3.8 billion) as the state’s next largest Asian market.
Louisiana’s involvement in Asia has had a significant impact on the state. Since South Korea and the United States signed their free trade agreement (KORUS) in 2007, the job market has expanded. The trade partnership has reduced costs for raw materials imported by Louisiana’s manufacturers. Louisiana’s exports of goods to South Korea in 2011 was $2 billion, a 14% average annual increase since 2001.
In his speech, President Obama outlined the importance of an export-driven economy,
“So, let’s make it easier for more businesses to expand and grow and sell more goods made in America to the rest of the world…let’s make sure we’ve got the best ports and schools.”