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Alaska exports increase 11 percent

Posted: Tuesday, August 29, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Alaska's exports for the first half of the year increased 11 percent compared to the same period last year, the governor's office said Monday.

Total exports for the first half of the year topped $1.2 billion, an increase of 11 percent over the first half of 1999, when exports totaled $1.09 billion.

Crude oil exports during the first half of the year totaled $288 million, an increase of 37 percent. Natural gas exports were stable, while coal exports were up 50 percent to $8.3 million during the first half of the year. Usibelli Coal Mine Inc., Alaska's only coal company, said despite the increase in the first half of the year, totals for the year would be about the same as in 1999.

The state's top two markets continued to show signs of recovery from the economic problems much of Asia faced in 1997 through 1998. Exports to the state's No. 1 market, Japan, totaled $697 million during the first half of 2000, or an 18 percent increase compared to the first half of 1998.

Exports to Alaska's No. 2 market, South Korea, increased 13 percent to reach $260 million.

''International trade is a very important part of Alaska's economy -- more so than many other states and this increase in exports means jobs for Alaskans,'' Gov. Tony Knowles said. ''International trade is a big business. And though Alaska has a lot of competition out there, we're doing pretty well at it.''

Knowles is expected to lead a trade mission of business and government officials to Japan and China this fall.

Seafood continued to be Alaska's No. 1 export item. During the first half of 2000, Alaska exported $493 million in seafood, a decrease of 2.6 percent or $13.4 million compared to the first half of 1999. The low opilio and other crab harvests were blamed for the decline. Crab exports were down nearly $50 million in the first half of 2000.

Fertilizer exports totaled $81.8 million, an increase of 38 percent. Mineral exports were relatively unchanged at $44.7 million, whereas wood exports at $90.5 million declined 8.6 percent during the first half of the year.



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