August 30, 2003
"Double-digit export growth is an amazing accomplishment for any economy in the world, and is especially gratifying for a Pacific Rim state like Alaska. We should all be proud of this significant achievement," Murkowski said. "I believe that our efforts to improve and expand access to resources in our state will help continue this kind of economic progress."
The state's January to June 2003 trade figures show the value of total Alaska exports for the first half of the year at $1.15 billion -- $130 million higher than in the first half of 2002. At the same time last year, total exports had declined by 1 percent from the first six months of the previous year.
Alaska's increase in exports was led by seafood exports, which increased $56 million, or 9 percent. Exports of fertilizers increased 25 percent, wood products rose 50 percent and precious metals soared a whopping 278 percent in the first six months of 2003 compared to the same time period in 2002.
Japan remains Alaska's number-one trading partner, with seafood exports reaching $278 million in the first six months of 2003. In that same period energy sales increased $13 million, or 14 percent; wood products climbed $18 million, or 94 percent; and minerals rose $5 million, or 95 percent.
"Seafood continues to drive our export numbers," said Margy Johnson, director of the Department of Community and Economic Development's Division of Trade & Development. "Japan remains critically important to our export picture."
The state's active promotion of trade with South Korea is also bringing positive results, she said. Exports to South Korea led all countries in terms of dollar increase at $117 million, or 57 percent. Seafood exports to South Korea improved $85 million, or 68 percent. Fertilizer exports climbed $14 million, or 57 percent.
"The recent Pac-5 Conference we organized reinforced good business relations and will help to assure upward swing of exports to South Korea, Alaska's second-largest trading partner," said Johnson. Pac-5 is an economic conference of South Korea and five other U.S. states bordering the Pacific Ocean.
Alaska's trade with Canada rose 49 percent, or $28 million, for the six-month period, for the third most significant increase in both dollars and percentage of growth. The main growth resulted from increasing mineral exports. China ranked fourth in Alaska's export market list for 2003, importing over $62 million of Alaska's goods and sustaining 26 percent growth over 2002. Top exports to China include seafood, petroleum products, and fishmeal. Alaska fish producers are now able to sell all of the fish, including once-discarded parts that are now sold for use as animal feed.
Switzerland was second in dollar growth, increasing $39 million and first in percentage terms, rising 281 percent. Switzerland is now ranked fifth on Alaska's trading partner list due to Alaska's strong exports of precious metals to the nation, with gold accounting for nearly all the increase.
Export of services and expertise is also important to Alaska. Russia, with its monumental Sakhalin oil and gas development projects, presents Alaska with lucrative export opportunities in services in arctic engineering and oilfield support services, Johnson said.
"A great example is the
recent award of a $70 million contract to Alaska Interstate Construction,
LLC to conduct civil work at the Exxon-led Sakhalin I project,"
said Rada Jones, Division's Russia Trade Specialist. More than
half a dozen Alaska firms have established successful joint ventures
and obtained sizable contracts as part of this development that
will have a 30 plus year life span, she said.
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