NEW ORLEANS — The World Trade Center of New Orleans says exports through Louisiana are holding steady even though its exports to China fell by one-fifth.
The $43.5 billion dollars in exports through the third quarter of the year put Louisiana eighth in the nation in export value.
The figure is 2 percent higher than the same time last year, although exports to China fell from $5.1 billion to $3.7 billion.
"Increased investment and a broadened list of export markets are large contributors to the sustained growth we're experiencing," said CEO Dominik Knoll. "Compared to last year, we're seeing higher than average growth in our machinery and transportation equipment industries and we have diversified the number of leading buyers of these commodities."
Machinery exports grew 51 percent, transportation equipment 45 percent and fabricated metal products 33 percent, New Orleans CityBusiness (http://bit.ly/1eqY09Z) reported.
Louisiana's principal export markets in the third quarter were Mexico, China and Japan. Shipments to Mexico rose 7 percent, from $4.5 billion to $4.8 billion.
The largest growth for exports through Louisiana was in shipments to France. The value of that trade zoomed up 65 percent to $1.4 billion, compared with $876 million in 2012.
Petroleum and coal products, agricultural products and chemicals were the top three exports from Louisiana in the third quarter.
Chemicals accounted for $6.8 billion of Louisiana's exports at the close of the third quarter 2013, up slightly from $6.3 billion in the previous year.
The Port of New Orleans' Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal has moved large amounts of chemicals, said port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. Billions of dollars in investments in Louisiana's energy and chemicals industries should keep that growing, he said.
Although they were the state's second largest exported commodity, trade of agricultural products declined 26 percent, from $11.9 billion in third quarter 2012 to $8.8 billion. Food products also dropped about 3 percent to $3.3 billion.
William Richardson, dean of Louisiana State University's College of Agriculture, said that's partly because the U.S. corn harvest was "exceptionally slow," so corn exports to China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries fell.
"At the same time Brazil was able to displace the U.S. share of this market that would have flowed through Louisiana ports because of its record corn production for 2012/13," he said in a news release from the World Trade Center.
Information from: New Orleans CityBusiness, http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com