May 5, 2011

Maine exports hit a record high in 2010, rebounding after dropping significantly in 2009. That’s according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division, which shows that Maine exported $3.15 billion in goods in 2010. That amounts to a 41 percent hike over 2009.

According to the International Trade Center, the previous record of $3.02 billion for exports was set in 2008, which was $2.23 billion.

Maine’s semiconductor industry led the gains, outpacing 2009 sales by 133 percent. In addition, wood-pulp exports grew by 105 percent and paper exports by 34 percent.

Seafood exports, especially lobster, also grew — to $178 million — along with potato products, which posted $44 million in export sales.

“We are even more encouraged by the continued diversification of Maine industries and companies that have become internationally active,” said ITC President Janine Bisaillon-Cary. “A prime example of this is in our medical optics and surgical instrumentation industries, where exports increased 34 percent last year.”

Bisaillon-Cary said the hike in international demand and a favorable U.S. currency exchange rate bode well for continued growth in Maine exports this year.

Maine’s International Trade Center (ITC) mission was enhanced during Governor Baldacci’s administration with increased marketing, assistance, and trade trips. From 2000 through November 2010, Maine exports grew 56 percent.