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South Carolina export sales top $30 billion in 2015, achieve sixth consecutive record year

State remains top exporter of tires and completed passenger motor vehicles

COLUMBIA, S.C. –For the sixth consecutive year, the State of South Carolina has set a record for total export sales. Today, Gov. Nikki Haley, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Ports Authority announced that the State’s 2015 export sales totaled $30.9 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The figure represents a more than four percent increase over the 2014 total.

“Companies continue to trust the people of South Carolina to build their products because they make up a workforce that has built a remarkable reputation as one of the best in the world,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “The fact that Team South Carolina has accomplished another record year in export sales proves that our economy is on the move, but with new companies investing in our state all the time, it’s clear that we’re just getting started.”

With more than $4.4 billion in export sales, China remained South Carolina’s top export partner in 2015. Rounding out the Palmetto State’s top ten export partners were Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Belgium and Korean Republic.

“South Carolina companies continue to produce top-quality products, and the world is taking notice,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Looking ahead, the continued growth and development of our international trade footprint is critical as we seek to keep our state and its economy moving forward.”

South Carolina’s year-over-year 4.2 percent increase led all Southeastern states. Nationwide, only Hawaii, Nevada, Utah and Arizona boasted a larger percentage increase. The Palmetto State’s 2015 growth was boosted by a more than 176 percent increase in the export sales of aircraft. Last year, aircraft and spacecraft accounted for more than $4 billion in export sales, giving South Carolina approximately 12 percent of the U.S. market share.

“The rising production of export goods in South Carolina is a key driver of SCPA growth above the U.S. port market average. Our Harbor Deepening Project to 52-feet will further support the handling of heavy export cargo, and combined with other planned improvements to our terminals and infrastructure, SCPA is well-poised to meet the needs of our state’s exporters and enhance South Carolina’s presence in the global marketplace," said South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome.

The Palmetto State remained the nation’s top exporter of completed passenger motor vehicles in 2015. With a 7.8 percent increase over 2014, vehicles accounted for $9.8 billion in export sales, giving the Palmetto State nearly 18 percent of the total U.S. market share. And, for the fifth consecutive year, South Carolina led the nation in the export of tires, comprising more than 28 percent of the nation’s tire export market. South Carolina also remained the top exporter of both ball and roller bearings and lawn mowers in 2015.

Recognizing the importance of international trade to the state’s economy, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, along with its partners, works with businesses statewide to promote and encourage export activity. Over the last five years, the State’s export incentive programs have helped South Carolina companies sell products to more than 25 different countries worldwide. For more information on export support services offered by the State,

2015 South Carolina export rankings among states:

  • Ranked 15th in exports overall
  • Ranked as the top Southeastern state for export growth 
  • Ranked as the top exporter of completed passenger motor vehicles
  • Ranked as the top exporter of tires
  • Ranked as the top exporter of ball or roller bearings and parts
  • Ranked as the top exporter of lawn mowers