Louisville one of nation's fastest-growing export markets - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville one of nation's fastest-growing export markets

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Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville-Southern Indiana metro area had the ninth-fastest growth last year among the nation's top-50 export markets, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

Louisville businesses sold $8.9 billion worth of products to other countries in 2013, up from $7.7 billion in 2012, according to a report from the International Trade Administration, an agency of the Commerce Department.

That makes Louisville the 36th biggest export market in the U.S., just behind Indianapolis and ahead of Nashville, according to the figures.

The figures show Louisville has become a “solid powerhouse, especially for our size” in exports, which also have been growing rapidly at the state level, said Brian Miller, a senior international trade specialist with the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Louisville.

Louisville's nearly 16 percent growth last year appears to be due to the resurgence of production at Ford's two auto factories in Louisville – Kentucky Truck Plant off Westport Road and Louisville Assembly Plant off Fern Valley Road.

The government figures do not include particular businesses or products, but about 40 percent of Louisville exports are in the “transportation equipment manufacturing” industry. That category includes production of finished cars and trucks as well as vehicle parts and components.

Exports of transportation equipment from Louisville jumped from $2.2 billion in 2012 to $3.6 billion last year, according to the figures.

Louisville's next biggest export categories were chemical manufacturing ($1.5 billion) and computer/electronic product manufacturing ($1.2 billion).

Increasing exports is one focus of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's BEAM initiative to grow manufacturing jobs in the Louisville-Lexington corridor.

The Louisville Export Assistance Center, an office of the International Trade Administration, helps local small- and medium-size businesses identify buyers for their products overseas. One example is Zoeller Pump Company, which makes waste water treatment pumps.

“They are selling those things all over the world now,” said Peggy Pauley, director of the Louisville Export Assistance Center.

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