Tennessee exports triple in decade, offer chance for more growth

Tennessee exports triple in decade, offer chance for more growth

March 4th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Local Regional News

Bill Hagerty, Tennessee's commissioner for economic and community development, takes part in an editorial board meeting at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Tennessee exports have tripled in the past decade, but the state's top economic development official said today there is room for far more trade growth from Tennessee's small and medium size cities.

"With the current exchange rates, we have a real opportunity right now and we want to do what we can to help businesses capitalize on that," Bill Hagerty, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said today during a meeting with editors and reporters of the Times Free Press.

The International Trade Administration said Tennessee export shipments of merchandise in 2012 grew to $31.1 billion, up from only about $10 billion a decade ago.

To help boost exports, Tennessee is opening new trade offices this year in Germany, China, Britain and Mexico.

Hagerty said a free trade agreement with the European Union would help Tennessee's auto makers, including Volkswagen in Chattanooga, compete with car makers in Mexico and other countries.