Southeast Asia, when taken as a whole, imported $70.4 billion of US merchandise in 2010, a 61-percent increase from the 2001 figure of $43.8 billion. This signals a return to the upward trend in US merchandise exports to the region following the disruption of the Global Financial Crisis, when such exports fell from a high of $66.9 billion in 2008 to $53.8 billion in 2009.
By comparison, the United States sent more merchandise exports to only four other economies in 2010: Canada, the European Union, Mexico, and China. Southeast Asia’s share of US merchandise exports has also remained steady at around 5 percent even as those exports grew by 75 percent in the past decade.
|Top 10 US States Exporting Merchandise to Southeast Asia (2010)|
|State||Merchandise Exports to Southeast Asia|
|UNITED STATES||$70.4 billion|
|New York||$2.00 billion|
The US states that export the most to Southeast Asia predictably include states abutting the Pacific Ocean—including California, Washington, and Oregon—and export powerhouses—such as Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois. US states as varied as California, Louisiana, Illinois, and New York exported more than $2 billion of merchandise to Southeast Asia in 2010.
However, Southeast Asia is actually also important to a more diverse set of US states than this top 10 list would suggest. While Southeast Asia was the destination of substantial merchandise exports from Washington ($4.92 billion) and Oregon ($3.75 billion) in 2010, these amounts also constituted a considerable share of these two states’ overall exports. One-tenth of Washington’s exports went to Southeast Asia in 2010, and Oregon’s figure was 21 percent. More remarkably, Maine and Idaho sent 28 and 22 percent of their respective merchandise exports to Southeast Asia. Even Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming—all states for which links with Southeast Asia may not be readily apparent—sent over 10 percent of their exports to the region in 2010.
|Top 10 States:|
Southeast Asia’s Share in State Merchandise Exports (2010)
|State||Merchandise Exports to Southeast Asia||Southeast Asia’s Share of State Merchandise Exports|
|UNITED STATES||$70.4 billion||5.5%|
But US merchandise exports to Southeast Asia are not only notable in amount and share of total exports, they are also growing. Over the last decade, eleven US states that exported merchandise to Southeast Asia in 2010 have at least doubled their figures since 2001. These states are Virginia, Kansas, and Kentucky and the eight states in the top 10 list. Hawai’i and Vermont, in particular, have managed to increase their merchandise exports to Southeast Asia almost fourfold, and thus increased the region’s share of their overall 2010 exports to 14 and 11 percent, respectively.
|Top 10 States:|
Increase in Merchandise Exports to Southeast Asia (2001-2010)
|UNITED STATES||$43.8 billion||$70.4 billion||61%|
|Virgin Islands||$31.1 thousand||$15.0 million||1,551%|
|Montana||$6.16 million||$43.7 million||609%|
|Utah||$205 million||$1.02 billion||398%|
|Hawai’i||$18.6 million||$92.4 million||397%|
|Vermont||$97.4 million||$469 million||381%|
|Nevada||$48.3 million||$229 million||374%|
|North Dakota||$3.44 million||$15.4 million||348%|
|Missouri||$174 million||$678 million||290%|
|Puerto Rico||$243 million||$902 million||271%|
|Maine||$259 million||$891 million||244%|
In line with our recent posts on Asia’s growing importance as a US exports destination and on the US trade patterns with individual Southeast Asian countries, Southeast Asia remains a significant market for US merchandise exports. Southeast Asia also represents one of the better destinations for potential expansion precisely because of the relatively low volume of US exports to the region. Exports to the region are growing much faster for many individual US states than the national average, and for a few, such as Maine, Idaho, and Oregon, Southeast Asia is a substantial export destination.