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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Trade in Arkansas

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk is traveling this week to Little Rock, Arkansas. This Weekly Trade Spotlight demonstrates the importance of trade to workers and firms both small and large throughout the state.

Arkansas is the “Natural State,” and a natural part of life in Arkansas is exporting. In fact, it is estimated that 69,000 Arkansas jobs were supported by exports of goods from the state in 2008. And more than 1,000 Arkansas small- and medium-sized businesses were exporting in 2007.

In 2009 alone, Arkansas shipped out more than $5 billion worth of merchandise, more than a 100 percent increase from 2000, and a 36 percent increase from 2005. That’s more than twice the average increase for U.S. goods exports over the same time. Trade is becoming an increasingly important part of Arkansas’ economy.

The state's leading export category is transportation equipment, which alone accounted for 35 percent of Arkansas' total merchandise exports in 2009. Other top exports were processed foods, chemicals, and machinery.

Ambassador Kirk and USTR are working to help Arkansas producers sell to more markets. President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and trade agreements, like the U.S. - Korea trade agreement, represent opportunities to support more jobs in Arkansas through increased exports. Provisions in the U.S.-Korea trade agreement, such as the elimination of tariffs on U.S. appliances to Korea, will help exporters of one of the leading Little Rock-area products – fabricated metal products like household appliances – to find new consumers and reach new horizons.

USTR works every day to open up world markets and secure emerging opportunities for Arkansas’ small businesses.