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Trade with the Asia-Pacific Benefits South Carolina's Businesses and Workers

The Trans-Pacific Partnership offers tremendous opportunities for U.S. exporters. In a world where 95 percent of consumers reside outside our borders, the Asia-Pacific region comprises 40 percent of the global population. These dynamic economies are growing faster than the world average and generated 56 percent of global GDP in 2009. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market in the world for U.S. exports and receives two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports.The Obama Administration is committed to increasing these exports and creating more jobs here at home through the TPP.

This week, will highlight how states across the country benefit from trade with the Asia-Pacific Region. Today, we are showcasing South Carolina.

Jobs supported by South Carolina’s goods exports are estimated to be 150,000. South Carolina’s manufacturing exports accounted for 32.9 percent of its manufacturing output. More than one-quarter (28.9 percent) of all manufacturing workers in South Carolina depend on exports for their jobs, the second highest figure among the 50 states. Although not measured, there are also additional jobs supported by South Carolina’s exports of services.

A total of 3,575 companies exported goods from South Carolina locations in 2007. Of those, 2,933 (82 percent) were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with fewer than 500 employees.

South Carolina’s export shipments of merchandise in 2009 totaled $16.5 billion. Of South Carolina’s total exports, $6.8 billion, or 41 percent, went to markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The top three product categories to TPP member economies exported in 2009 were transportation equipment, plastic and rubber products, and chemical manufactures.

Small and medium-sized firms generated 12 percent of South Carolina’s total exports of merchandise in 2007. Notably, small and medium-sized firms benefit from the tariff-elimination provisions of free trade agreements. The transparency obligations, particularly those in the customs chapters, are vital to small and medium-sized firms, which may not have the resources to navigate customs and regulatory red tape.