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U.S. Exports to MENA Reach $70.85 Billion in 2013

U.S. Merchandise Exports to MENA Region Set All-Time Record: $70.85 Billion

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- According to new U.S. Government data analyzed by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC), 2013 was another record-breaking year for U.S. merchandise exports to the Arab world.  Based on just-released 2013 data and revised 2012 figures provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. 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 U.S. merchandise exports to the world increased by only 2.09 percent, from $1.546 trillion in 2012 to $1.579 trillion in 2013.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140207/MN61001)

"Despite the challenges of the Arab Spring, U.S. exports to the Arab world continue to reach new highs," noted David Hamod, President & CEO of the National U.S.-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 U.S. companies, many of which are looking to compensate for weak demand in the U.S. marketplace by increasing their exports overseas."

The largest category of goods exported was Transportation Equipment, including commercial aircraft, which constituted $ 26.31 billion (37.1 percent) of total U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. exports to the region, accounting for 75.7 percent of total sales of goods to the 22 countries of the Arab world. 

Egypt retained its position as the third largest Arab market for U.S. goods, despite a drop in sales of nearly five percent, probably attributable to political unrest in that nation.  As last year, Qatar and Kuwait filled out the remaining "Top Five" importing nations.  The "Second Five" tier of importing nations included Iraq and the four Free Trade Agreement nations in the Arab world: Morocco, Jordan, Oman and Bahrain.

Some countries posted impressive gains over last year:

  • Qatar rose 38.61 percent, probably on the strength of its Vision 2030 master plan and its infrastructure development for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
  • Jordan climbed 21.95 percent, in part because it has emerged as a trade & investment safe haven in one of the Arab Spring's "roughest neighborhoods."
  • Tunisia and Libya posted impressive gains of 37.62 percent and 48.35 percent, respectively, reflecting post-revolution infrastructure growth and consumer demand in both of those nations.
  • Algeria grew 33.92 percent on the strength of its energy sector and rising consumer demand in that nation.
  • Sudan grew 52.64 percent, presumably as a result of modifications in U.S. sanctions that opened the door to increased numbers of humanitarian products.
  • Djibouti and Comoros jumped 38.09 percent and 270.52 percent, respectively, probably as a result of their efforts to attract larger numbers of foreign investors.

TOP FIVE ARAB MARKETS FOR U.S. GOODS:

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  In 2013, the United Arab Emirates was the top U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 USA.  With total imports from the U.S. 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%), Florida (19.84%), Louisiana (-7.41%), Georgia (10.15%), New Jersey (25.34%), Ohio (59.37%), and Maryland (4.19%).

Full data for each of the 22 Arab countries and each of the 50 U.S. states will be available on the NUSACC website very soon.  To review preliminary data, click here to see a ranking of the 22 countries of the Arab world by sales volumes, by percentage of change from 2012 to 2013, and alphabetized by country.

Media Contact: Cynthia Douglass, National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, +1 (801) 867-3020, cdouglass@nusacc.org

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SOURCE National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce

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