23 Sep AeA: Wisconsin high-tech exports down in 2007; up 86% since 2001
Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. – Although they took a dip in 2007, high-tech exports from Wisconsin have increased by 86 percent since 2001, the eighth largest export growth in the nation over that time period, according to an annual report from the AeA.
The report, titled “Trade in the Cyberstates 2008: A State-by-State Overview of High-Tech International Trade,” details national and state trends in the international trade of high-tech goods. It covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
In 2007, AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association) said Wisconsin’s upward trend was reversed and high-tech exports decreased by $437 million, or 10 percent, from their level in 2006. Despite that, Wisconsin is still ranked 12th nationwide in high-tech exports with $3.9 billion in 2007.
The AeA’s figures, however, don’t correspond to the official state figures, which show strong export growth in high-tech goods in the first half of 2008. In fact, they show the state exported 14 percent more high-tech goods, $848 million, than it did in all of 2007 ($743 million).
In this survey, Wisconsin ranks 17th in high-tech exports.
Tony Hozeny, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, said the difference reflects varying definitions of what constitutes a “high-tech” good. “It’s gratifying to know we’re up 86 percent in the last seven years,” he said, “but it’s hard to compare because there is no idea of what the root definition is.”
Among the state’s high-tech categories are medical and surgical technology, integrated and printed circuits, microscopes, and radio broadcast receivers.
Ed Longanecker, executive director of AeA’s Midwest council, called high-tech exports integral to Wisconsin’s economy, noting they comprise one-fifth of the state’s total exports.
Last year, however, he said the state experienced a decrease of $372 million in industrial electronics exports based on the AeA’s calculation, which explains most of the $437 million overall drop in the AeA survey.
Tech exports still support 13,100 Wisconsin jobs, and Longanecker said the state should continue expanding markets overseas if it wants to grow “this high-paying market.”
“Free trade agreements that have been concluded with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea should be passed by Congress and signed into law,” he said in a statement released with the report.
According to the AeA, Wisconsin’s leading technology export destinations are as follows:
- $434 million in tech exports to Canada.
- $389 million in tech exports to China.
- $291 million in tech exports to Japan.
Meanwhile, the state’s leading technology export sectors, and its national standing in each, includes: fifth in photonics exports at $348 million; sixth in electro medical exports at $1 billion; and 12th in communications equipment exports at $575 million.
Many credit the national and state export numbers with the weak U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. goods more affordable abroad. State Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, believes the state is well positioned to have strong exports whatever the strength of the dollar happens to be.
“Wisconsin is blessed with to have a great export economy,” Kanavas noted in an e-mail. “Our technology advantage, leveraged by companies like General Electric, makes us well positioned to compete long-term, even if the dollar strengthens over time.”
Nationally, the AeA report shows that U.S. high-tech good exports, which totaled $214 billion in 2007, decreased by three percent. American technology exports now represent 18 percent of all U.S. exports to the world, and they supported 894,600 jobs in the U.S.
In addition, high-tech imports totaled $333 billion in 2007, up by three percent, resulting in a high-tech trade deficit of $118 billion.
AeA is the nation’s largest technology trade association representing the high-tech industry.