Georgia sets trade record in 2018 with exports surpassing $40.5 billion

Agricultural exports in Georgia held steady at $4.2 billion in 2018, supported by strong poultry sales and growth in diary, cotton and peanut exports. Gov. Brian Kemp said the state’s international trade numbers set a new record with exports surpassing $40.5 billion. (Photo: UGA)

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that Georgia’s 2018 international trade numbers set a new record with exports surpassing $40.5 billion. This reflects a 9 percent increase over 2017.

Kemp said total trade between Georgia and the world spanned 223 countries and territories, reaching a new high at $139.3 billion.

“Trade is a vital part of our state’s economy, and it is exciting to see Georgia products in such high demand across the globe,” Kemp said. “I thank Gov. (Sonny) Perdue and Gov. (Nathan) Deal for prioritizing Georgia’s success on the international stage and their commitment to expanding our state’s trade industry. With nearly 90 percent of exporters classified as small businesses, the 2018 trade numbers showcase the strength and diversity of Georgia’s economy.

“I look forward to building on today’s announcement and working with private-sector partners to explore new markets for hard-working Georgians.”

Georgia reclaimed its rank last year as the 11th-largest exporting state in the United States, and in the past decade Georgia exports have grown by 71 percent. Companies in Georgia exported to 212 unique countries and territories. The top five markets for Georgia products were Canada, Mexico, China, Germany and Singapore.

Imports grew to $98.7 billion in 2018, and Georgia ranks seventh among U.S. states for imports and total trade.

Officials said aerospace remains the leading export industry in Georgia with exports totaling more than $9.1 billion. Among U.S. states, Georgia ranks fifth for aerospace exports. Exports of medical devices and pharmaceuticals grew 13 percent to a record $1.7 billion.

Agricultural exports held steady at $4.2 billion, supported by strong poultry sales and growth in dairy, cotton and peanut exports.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade Division works to bolster Georgia exports and brand the state as a competitive source of products and services. The team provides businesses with the global insight and connections needed to successfully diversify their customer base.

“Global trade has a truly statewide impact, and companies in every region of the state contribute to Georgia’s export growth,” GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of our International Trade team who work closely with companies, communities and economic development partners statewide to ensure Georgia’s continued competitiveness.”

Georgia maintains representation in 12 strategic markets, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Europe, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, the United Kingdom and Ireland. These representatives play a critical role in facilitating international connections that generate economic success.

In fact, 60 percent of Georgia exports are sold to markets where the state has a presence.

“Georgia’s export story is fundamentally about small businesses finding global success,” GDEcD Deputy Commissioner for International Trade Mary Waters said. “Our team assists hundreds of companies each year, half of which employ fewer than 20. These entrepreneurial businesses are poised to grow faster and create higher-paying jobs across Georgia because of stronger international sales.”

The full 2018 international trade summary is available at

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