Thanks to the Gulf countries, US exports to the Middle East just 'broke record'
As in previous years, importing countries were led by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,
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2013 was another record-breaking year for US merchandise exports to the Arab world, a new US government data analyzed by the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) revealed.
Based on just-released 2013 data and revised 2012 figures provided by the US Census Bureau, US goods exports to the 22 nations of the Arab world increased from $65.91 billion in 2012 to $70.85 billion in 2013, an increase of 7.51 percent and the highest single-year sales volume ever. By comparison, total US merchandise exports to the world increased by only 2.09 percent, from $1.546 trillion in 2012 to $1.579 trillion in 2013.
The largest category of goods exported was transportation equipment, including commercial aircraft, which constituted $26.31 billion (37.1 percent) of total US goods shipped to the Arab world. Other "Top Five" export sectors included non-electrical machinery ($8.63 billion, 12.2 percent), computer & electronic products ($6.52 billion, 9.2 percent), chemicals ($3.96 billion, 5.6 percent), and food & kindred products ($3.38 billion, 4.8 percent).
As in previous years, importing countries were led by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which together accounted for $43.6 billion – well over half of all US merchandise exports to the Arab world (61.5 percent). The GCC nations – which have largely been shielded from the disruptions of the Arab Spring – continued to drive US exports to the region, accounting for 75.7 percent of total sales of goods to the 22 countries of the Arab world.
In 2013, the United Arab Emirates was the top US export partner in the Arab world, importing $24.607 billion in goods from the United States, a 9.03 percent increase over 2012. The top three import sectors were transportation equipment ($9.38 billion), computer & electronic products ($3.9 billion), and non-electrical machinery ($1.88 billion).
Saudi Arabia was the second largest market for US goods, importing $18.988 billion in 2013, a 4.8 percent increase since 2012. Top import sectors included transportation equipment ($8.06 billion), non-electrical machinery ($3.11 billion), and computer & electronic products ($1.28 billion).
Egypt, the third largest Arab import market for US goods, saw exports decline from $5.49 billion in 2012 to $5.22 billion in 2013. This represents a 4.86 percent decrease, presumably attributable to unrest in that nation. Top imports included agricultural products ($917.83 million), food & kindred products ($694.26 million), and non-electrical machinery ($646.09 million).
Qatar retained its position as the fourth largest Arab market for US goods, with imports totaling over $4.96 billion in 2013, a 38.6 percent increase over 2012. The top three sectors were transportation equipment ($3.32 billion), miscellaneous manufactured commodities ($348.5 million), and non-electrical machinery ($335.8 million).
Kuwait retained its position in the "Top Five Arab Markets" for 2013, despite a 3.31 percent decrease in goods imports from the US. With total imports from the US reaching $2.594 billion in 2013, Kuwait's top three import sectors included Transportation equipment ($1.22 billion), non-electrical machinery ($283.15 million), and food & kindred products ($185.9 million).
The "Top Three" exporting States to the Arab world remained the same: Texas, Washington, and California. Texas goods exports grew to $11,905,606,392, an increase of 12.7 percent over last year. Washington goods exports grew to $8,405,378,218, an increase of 4.71 percent over last year. California goods exports decreased to $4,445,840,784, a drop of 15.49 percent from last year. Rounding out the "Top Ten" were New York (14.09 percent), Florida (19.84 percent), Louisiana (-7.41 percent), Georgia (10.15 percent), New Jersey (25.34 percent), Ohio (59.37 percent), and Maryland (4.19 percent).
"Despite the challenges of the Arab Spring, US exports to the Arab world continue to reach new highs," noted David Hamod, President & CEO of the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. "These impressive numbers are largely attributable to unprecedented infrastructure development throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations. This is very good news for US companies, many of which are looking to compensate for weak demand in the US marketplace by increasing their exports overseas."
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