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Exports Rebound to $3.2 Billion High in 2004


March 11, 2005

Alaska businesses exported $3.2 billion in goods to foreign countries in 2004, topping the $3 billion mark for the first time in more than a decade, according to data compiled by the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

The $418 million growth in international exports during 2004, a 15 percent increase, comes after a nine percent increase in 2003, the data showed.

"This phenomenal growth in international trade over the last two years is just one indicator of the real economic progress we are seeing throughout the state. These are exciting times to live and work in Alaska," said Governor Frank H. Murkowski.

Seafood products continue to be the most valuable export commodity in Alaska, totaling $1.7 billion in 2004. Seafood exports rose $289 million, a 21 percent increase over the previous year. Total fish exports were the highest in a decade and are a full $1 billion more than the $697 million in total seafood exports in 1998.

Mineral exports of lead and zinc rose $92 million (22 percent) to $505 million for the year. Energy sales of liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals and coal climbed $71 million in 2004, or 23 percent, for a total of $376 million. Fertilizer sales of $231 million were $32 million higher than in 2003. These four categories account for nearly 90% of all international exports.

"Alaska has not seen these high levels of international exports since farmed fish saturated the global market and we exported crude oil to Asia," said Mark Edwards, Economist for the state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

Japan continues to be the state's most important trade partner, buying nearly $1.2 billion in Alaskan exports last year. Seafood sales to Japan rose $102 million in 2004 to total $739 million, a 16 percent increase. Japan's other major purchases included $300 in energy, $73 million in minerals and $56 million in wood products.

Korea remained the state's second leading export partner, purchasing a total of $580 million in goods, primarily seafood, fertilizer, minerals, and wood products. Canada purchased $247 million and China bought $242 million in Alaska products. Exports to China have grown by $100 million in the last two years.

"Alaska is also diversifying its sales markets," Economist Mark Edwards said. "In 2004, we exported seafood directly to 44 different countries. In 2002, seafood sales went to 34 countries and in 1997 the figure was only 24 countries."

The seafood industry has also been buoyed by the Governor's $50 million fish revitalization strategy, which includes direct aid to communities and individual fisherman, funding for economic development projects throughout coastal Alaska and an aggressive salmon marketing campaign.

"The Murkowski Administration continues to support the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute in its efforts to promote Alaska seafood in both foreign and domestic markets," said Margy Johnson, the Governor's Director of International Trade. "Our joint efforts are showing real, positive progress for the hard-working men and women fishing in Alaska."


Source of News:

Office of the Governor
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Ketchikan, Alaska