November 1, 2017

Kentucky Exports on Record Pace for 2017



Kentucky is on pace to set a new high mark in exports as, across the first eight months of 2017, businesses sold more than $20 billion worth of products and services to international markets, pushing 4.1-percent beyond the same months last year’s record-breaking performance.

Aerospace continues to lead the way, with nearly $7.5 billion in products distributed around the world, followed by motor vehicles ($2.76 billion), pharmaceuticals and medicines ($1.28 billion) and motor vehicle parts ($1.14 billion).

“The increasing global demand for Kentucky-made products and services reflects the state’s deep and prolific manufacturing, service, tech and creative industries,” said Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Already this year, we have attracted more investment into the commonwealth than ever before. We’re exporting more products and are on track to create more jobs than any year in the past decade. This performance is linked to the administration and General Assembly’s efforts to make the commonwealth the premier location for business in the US. Additionally, we’re building ever-stronger relationships with key nations and working closely with Kentucky’s businesses that serve markets across the globe.”

The data, recently published by the U.S. Census Foreign Trade Bureau and WISERTrade, show Kentucky has shipped products to nearly 190 nations in 2017. Exports to Canada have totaled $5.16 billion, more than double the next closest destination. The United Kingdom, China, France, Brazil and Mexico are among the countries to each import more than $1.4 billion in products from Kentucky.

Demand for Kentucky-made products increased in several nations throughout the first eight months of 2017, as represented by significant growth in the number of categories and value of products shipped. China’s demand for Kentucky-built vehicles – including the 2018 Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln MKC – spiked the automotive imports category. That contributed to an all-categories-combined 53.8-percent increase to China over the same timeframe last year. Brazil (20.6-percent increase) and U.K. (14.6-percent) were also among the state’s top export destinations to see substantial increases.

Kentucky companies can receive assistance in creating export opportunities and making connections with markets around the world through the Kentucky Export Initiative. KEI is a coalition of business organizations, trade experts and government entities, including CED, with a focus on increasing Kentucky exports to create jobs and a diversified market for Kentucky-made products. Learn more at

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