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.