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South Carolina officials tout state’s export growth

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(The Center Square) — South Carolina export sales in 2023 totaled $37.3 billion, and officials said the volume defies the national trend.

Palmetto State officials, citing federal Department of Commerce numbers, said U.S. exports were down 2.2%. However, South Carolina officials said the state’s exports have grown at an average rate of 4.4% year-to-year, while nationwide export volumes increased at an average rate of 3% year-to-year.

“South Carolina is a global state — we’re proud to be a leading destination and trade partner for companies and countries throughout the world,” Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III said in a statement. “Growing our international trade and exports network makes our economy more resilient, more diverse, and more competitive for long-term economic development success.”

Officials identified completed passenger vehicles, aircraft and parts, machinery and mechanical appliances, plastics and rubber tires as the state’s top “exported commodities” last year. The state remains the nation’s top exporter of tires, and 2023 marked the eighth consecutive year the state has held the distinction.

Additionally, officials said Germany was the state’s top export market for “South Carolina-made products and services.”

In a statement, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said that “sending locally made goods throughout the world” creates “more jobs and careers for South Carolinians while helping expand our economy.”