South Carolina joins more than a dozen states to tally record-breaking export volume in 2013, according to a federal report released Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration reported exports from the Palmetto State increased 4 percent to $26.1 billion from the previous year.
The list of outbound goods was led by vehicles, machinery and rubber products, according to the report.
The figures come as several state and federal programs are being rolled out to help boost exports from South Carolina. That includes a new initiative by the U.S. Small Business Administration that provides matching-fund grants for states to assist small firms to ship more goods overseas.
Also, the state offers a port tax credit to encourage companies to increase their cargo volume through the port system and, in turn, create more jobs.
South Carolina's performance helped the United States reach an all-time record for exports of goods and services, The total figure was $2.3 trillion, which the report says supported nearly 10 million American jobs.
"This data shows that more and more South Carolina companies are growing their businesses and strengthening our economy by selling their top-quality goods to consumers around the globe," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "Exports continue to be an important driver for both the U.S. and South Carolina economies."
South Carolina was among 16 states to post record high exports last year. Others include neighboring Georgia at $37.6 billion, and Tennessee at $32.4 billion.
South Carolina also led the nation in tire exports for the third consecutive year, officials said. The Palmetto State is home to production plants for tiremakers like Michelin and Continental Tire.
Late last year, Michelin opened an 800,000-square-foot Anderson County factory, which makes huge "Earthmover" tires. The large tires are expected to be primarily shipped overseas through the State Ports Authority cargo terminals in Charleston.
The Palmetto State ranked second in the export of automobiles overseas. That was due in large part to BMW, which makes sport utility vehicles at its Greer plant in the Upstate,
The Commerce Department's data showed the largest export growths were to countries like Hungary and China. The S.C. State Ports Authority has said it is actively recruiting for exports to developing nations in regions such as Asia.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550 or twitter.com/tyrichardsonPC.
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