Recently, Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer, stated "Over the past five years, Montana has had the second-highest annual growth rate in export value in the nation."
Montana Department of Commerce records show that in 2007, Montana's commodity exports increased almost 35% to a new high of $1.74 billion. Wheat ranked #1 at $613.4 million, which is a $203 million increase from the previous year. The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee puts the majority of the 107.8 million bushels of wheat as exported to Japan.
Except for wheat exports, Canada, which has enough wheat for itself and many more countries, is Montana's top commodity export market; Japan remains second; then Germany, Taiwan, and China round out Montana's top five International export partners. In this same timefram, exports of dried legumes revenue increased from about $8.5 million to $17.6 million.
Montana"s noncommodity exports to Canada were $221.4 million in 2003, growing to $584.7 million in 2007. Noncommodity exports to Japan came in at $27.2 million in 2003, rising to $101.7 million in 2007, and our exports to Germany increased from $7 million in 2003 to $58.9 million in 2007.
Other Montana exports consist of medical instruments, vehicle parts, ores, industrial machinery, fuel, aircraft equipment, wood products, electrical machinery, prepared cereals, and pharmaceuticals.
Weak US currency increases the price Montanans pay for imported goods. Expanding export markets do make US goods cheaper, though, and thus, more attractive to our foreign customers. Montana has made between a 20% and 37% gain in exports since 2006. Gov. Schweitzer, says, "We have seen an increase in both our exports and in manufacturing employment, and Montana is one of only 22 states to see this growth."
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