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Governor Announces $3.3 Billion in Exports for 2009

March 4, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today announced Alaska exports totaled $3.3 billion in 2009, the fifth best year for trade in the state's history.

"Given that Alaskans were competing during a worldwide economic downturn last year, this is a great result," Governor Parnell said. "We know Alaska is on the right track: Each quarter in 2009 saw an improvement over the previous quarter."

First-quarter exports in 2009 were down nearly 30 percent from the first quarter of 2008. But at the end of 2009, fourth-quarter exports were up 12.3 percent from a year earlier. 

"Alaskans work hard every day to harvest our resources and produce our exports," Governor Parnell said. "I'm emphasizing improvements in education, workforce development and transportation infrastructure, and that should prepare us to compete and succeed in international opportunities in the future."

Overall, Alaska's 2009 exports were 8.1 percent lower than in 2008. Nationally, exports declined 17.9 percent. Forty-six other states posted greater decreases in export value than Alaska.

Alaska's exports of minerals, precious metals and forest products increased, while seafood and energy exports declined.

Alaska's zinc and lead ore exports in 2009 rose to $784.7 million, an increase of 33.5 percent over 2008. Red Dog Mine, in northwest Alaska, is the world's largest zinc mine and accounts for more than three-fourths of all U.S. zinc and lead ore exports. In 2009, Alaska's ore exports went to Korea, Canada, Spain, Japan, China, Italy, Finland, Belgium, Australia and Germany.

Precious metals exports, primarily gold, grew 6 percent to $152.6 million, with $146.4 million of gold shipped to Switzerland and $5.1 million of gold to Canada.

Pacific Rim countries traditionally have been key markets for Alaska's energy exports. Coal exports rose 42.8 percent to $33.1 million. Alaska's exports of liquefied natural gas, which has been shipped to Japan on a regular basis for more than 40 years, was $256.7 million.  

Refined petroleum product exports were $38.4 million, down more than 70 percent as the result of the international economic crisis. International cargo airlines operating in Anchorage reduced Asia-North America flights in 2009, so less jet fuel was produced in Alaska in response to this decreased demand. That led to a corresponding reduction in refined petroleum production for export.

Alaska's 2009 export of forest products grew 5.5 percent to $87.8 million. The Chinese market moved into the top spot, followed by Japan, Korea, Canada and Taiwan.

Alaska's seafood exports were $1.6 billion in 2009, down 9.8 percent. Japan has long been the state's largest seafood export market, followed by China, Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada. Markets in Asia accounted for nearly three-quarters of Alaska's seafood exports, while exports to the European Union accounted for 18.8 percent. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has marketing representatives based in Japan, China and the European Union - all markets that have imported significantly more of the state's seafood in the past decade. 

"The quality of Alaska's seafood is the best in the world," Governor Parnell said. "I congratulate everyone in the seafood industry for their well-earned success. Alaskans are savvy seafood exporters - whether they're improving processing technology, creating a new product, or educating consumers about our state's constitutionally mandated sustainability." 

The source of the Alaska export numbers is the U.S. Census Bureau. The numbers do not include Alaska resources transported to and warehoused in other U.S. states before export. For more information, contact trade specialist Patricia Eckert at (907) 269-7450.

More information on Alaska's exports is available at: http://gov.alaska.gov/trade/pdf/AlaskaExportCharts2009.pdf

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