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Trade report: Tenn. exports inch up after ‘another...

Trade report: Tenn. exports inch up after ‘another tough slog’ in first quarter

Tennessee exporters “eked out” a small increase during a challenging first quarter, according to the latest “Global Commerce” trade report from MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center.

Despite increases in the foreign shipments of medical-related goods and chemicals, the state only “eked out” a $6 million increase in quarterly exports, said Global Commerce author Steven Livingston, BERC associate director and a professor of political science and international relations at MTSU.

Dr. Steven Livingston, professor of political science & international relations and contributor to MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center

Dr. Steven Livingston

“The first quarter of 2019 was another tough slog for Tennessee exporters,” Livingston noted. “Since total state exports were at almost $8 billion, this was less than a 1 percent gain.”

That ranked the state 23rd nationally in its performance for the quarter.

Tennessee ran into declining car sales in both Canada and the U.S., producing substantial losses in its automotive-related trade, as well as the growing effects of the global trade war.

Tennessee exports to China were off 15 percent, while exports that appear on foreign tariff retaliation lists also suffered. As examples, wood exports (most of which go to China) dropped precipitously and whiskey exports (most of which go to Europe) were off sharply, the report notes.

“Absent a change in one of these headwinds, it appears it will be a difficult environment ahead for many state exporters,” Livingston said.

To read the full report and more details summaries, go to https://mtsu.edu/globalcommerce/1Q2019/1q2019.php.

For more information, contact Livingston at 615-898-2720 or email steven.livingston@mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

This chart shows the largest Tennessee export markets in the first quarter of 2019. (Courtesy of the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center)

This chart shows the largest Tennessee export markets in the first quarter of 2019 (green) compared to the first of quarter of 2018 (orange). (Courtesy of the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center)


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