Oklahoma exports increased 12 percent in the first half of this year, outpacing the national growth rate of 7 percent, and the state's overseas sales might be even higher, according to the head of the state Commerce Department's export division.
“We don't have a port of entry or exit, which does hurt us in a way,” said Erika Lucas, director of the state Commerce Department's global recruitment and trade division. “I do definitely believe Oklahoma exports are underestimated because of that fact.”
Oklahoma-made products also get shipped to other states for assembly, and those other states get credit for exporting the finished products, Lucas said.
“We continue to rank No. 1 in manufacturing job growth in the United States,” she said. “That kind of tells you our export number should be higher than it currently is.”
But the latest numbers from the International Trade Administration, part of the U.S. Commerce Department, are encouraging, Lucas said.
Oklahoma's exports in the January-June period grew to $3.4 billion this year from $3 billion in the same period last year, the International Trade Administration said.
Lucas said the state's export growth is coming in every form, as more Oklahoma companies are shipping more products and services while existing exporters are expanding their offerings and moving into new markets.
“Companies are becoming more aware of the opportunities overseas,” Lucas said. “They understand that we're all in a global economy and therefore they need to act accordingly and they're taking advantage of those overseas markets.”