Exports Playing Growing Role in Virginia

September 30, 2015 / Archived News/ Regional News

Virginia Business

State exports reached almost $36 billion in 2014, according to a new benchmark of state exports.

The Virginia Chamber Foundation released its first Virginia International Trade Profile on Tuesday. The analysis found that Virginia exports were responsible for more than 320,000 jobs and $2 billion in tax revenue in 2014.

Growing exports is seen as a way to to help bolster Virginia's economy in the wake of sequestration cuts.

“With 80 percent of future global economic growth projected to occur outside the U.S. over the next five years, private sector firms have an imperative to seek potential customers for their goods and services abroad,” Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Barry DuVal said in a statement.

According to the report, total state exports reached $35.9 billion in 2014, an increase of 56 percent since 2003. The report also found that the proportion of gross state product (GSP) attributable to exports has grown from 5.6 percent in 2003 to 7.8 percent in 2014. (Although the percentage peaked in 2011 at 8.1 percent.)

The report found:

  • Virginia is less export intensive than the U.S. and other states, largely because of its dependence on federal spending and its more services-oriented economy. Virginia’s export intensity is 7.8 percent versus 11.6 percent in the U.S.
  • From 2009 to 2014, about 30 percent of Virginia’s growth was driven by exports.
  • About half of Virginia exports are in services sectors, a higher proportion than the U.S. In Virginia, services represent 47 percent of Virginia exports, while goods make up 53 percent. In the U.S., goods represent 66 percent of exports, while services represent 34 percent.
  • The state’s three largest export regions are Northern Virginia (31.5 percent of state exports), Hampton Roads (15.8 percent) and Richmond (15 percent). However, 14 out of the remaining 15 regions have higher export intensity (exports as a percentage of gross state product) than the three largest regions.

The report says Virginia is well-positioned to grow its exports, particularly in the middle market (companies that have 20 to 499 jobs or a range of $10 million to $1 billion in revenues).

Virginia offers several trade-assistance programs that include targeted market research, face-to-face meetings with foreign businesses and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s two-year VALET (Virginia Leaders in Export Trade Program).