Texas Top Exporter for 12th Consecutive Year

By Vance Ginn and Can Cui, Texas public Policy Foundation

The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that the nation had another trade deficit (imports exceed exports) in 2013.

Last year, exports totaled $2.3 trillion and imports were $2.7 trillion, resulting in a trade deficit of $471.5 billion. Despite the trade deficit, the reduction in oil imports from an oil production boom across the country, particularly in Texas, contributed to a 12 percent decline in the trade deficit.

A breakdown of each state’s share of U.S. exports shows that the two largest exporters—Texas and California—represent 29 percent of the total (see figure below).

With a booming energy sector in Texas, the state ended 2013 with a record $217 billion in exports, making it the nation’s top exporter for a remarkable 12th consecutive year.

Compared with California, Texas has performed consistently better—widening the Lone Star State’s lead in the nation’s export share since at least 2005 (see figure below).

The success of the thriving private sector, including the large increases in oil and gas production, from the Texas model of relatively low government spending, taxes, and regulation have led to Texas’ exports having a 66 percent larger national share than California.

Where does Texas export its goods and services? The top three countries are: 1. Mexico, 2. Canada, and 3. China. Emerging economies around the world, such as Brazil and South Korea, are becoming increasingly more important to Texas’ exports.

According to the International Trade Association, growth in exports translates directly into jobs for Texans. Their figures indicate that over one-fourth of all manufacturing workers in Texas depend on exports and 93 percent of the state’s exports were from small and medium-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees.

With pro-growth policies that allow for a robust entrepreneurial spirit in Texas compared with the state’s big government counterpart, California, export growth in Texas from more businesses expanding and moving to the state is another data point on a long list of indicators that limited government is the answer for a well-functioning, job-creating economy.

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