St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota businesses saw their shipments to customers outside the United State decline last year.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reports the state’s total exports of agricultural, mining and manufactured products were valued at $19 billion dollars, which was down 4-percent when compared to the previous year. Nationally, exports fell 3-percent last year.

“Even with a slight decline in exports overall, Minnesota still has a thriving and diverse export sector, with state businesses sending 1,044 different products to 207 countries last year,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Exports are a vital part of our economy, supporting nearly 120,000 jobs in Minnesota.”

Our neighbors to the north remained Minnesota’s largest customer, even though total shipments to Canada fell 9-percent last year. State officials say the total value of the goods purchased by Canadian customers was about $4 billion dollars.

Mexico was the state’s second largest customer with shipments worth $2.3 billion dollars, followed by China at $2.2 billion. Exports to Mexico dropped 2-percent, while China’s purchases were steady.

Minnesota’s top export product was optic/medical instruments and accounted for $3.5 billion in shipments to other countries. Machinery was second at $3.1 billion, followed by electrical machinery at $2.5 billion.

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