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South Carolina’s export sales dropped to $30.3 billion in 2020

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Container ship under Ravenel (copy) (copy)

South Carolina continues to lead the nation in the export sales of tires and completed passenger motor vehicles.

South Carolina’s total export sales topped $30.3 billion in 2020, with the state’s exporters selling products in 195 countries and territories around the world.

While this sales figure represents a 26.9 percent drop from the 2019 total, 88 percent of states also reported a decrease attributed to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The state continues to lead the nation in the export sales of tires and completed passenger motor vehicles. And, new in 2020, South Carolina clinched the No. 1 spot in the export sales of ball and roller bearings.

“South Carolina’s economy continues to grow, and the news that the state remains the national leader in the export sales of tires and passenger vehicles – and the new leader in ball and roller bearings – is a testament to our state’s international connectivity,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “As we look to the future, we will continue to work hard to ensure that the Palmetto State remains a globally-competitive place to do business.”

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted trade around the world, South Carolina continues to live up to our reputation for producing top-quality products and for our ability to transport those products globally,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “International trade is part of our identity and critical to supporting economic prosperity. Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize the growth of our trade footprint and encourage companies of all sizes to expand their reach into new markets overseas.”

“SC Ports connects South Carolina to the world, serving as a vital economic engine for the Southeast. SC Ports handles high-end vehicles for global automakers, home goods for mega retailers, agricultural products for farmers and essential supplies for medical manufacturers, among other commodities,” said SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome. “As a top 10 U.S. container port, we have invested more than $2 billion in our infrastructure to remain globally competitive. In 2021, we will have the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet, and we will open the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, the country’s first container terminal in more than a decade. At SC Ports, we focus on efficient operations and infrastructure, ensuring S.C.-based businesses can continue to thrive.”

To continue growing the state’s export activity and to assist firms of all sizes that seek to get involved in international trade, S.C. Commerce offers the South Carolina Export Incentives Program. The initiative reimburses small and medium-sized business participation in S.C. Commerce trade missions, major trade exhibitions and international matchmaking. It also finances export training and other export-related initiatives by S.C. Commerce.

For more information on the South Carolina Export Incentives Program, including how eligible firms can participate, visit

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