Iowa's global export market growing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's global export market growing


New data from the US Department of Commerce show exciting economic news for Iowa.

The state saw a nearly 10 percent increase in the amount of money coming in from exporting local goods to the global market. That's comparing 2011 and 2012.

Altogether last year, Iowa exported $14.6 billion of goods internationally.

On Thursday, Dubuque-based company Flexsteel Industries made an announcement that will only grow Iowa's global reach. It will soon be exporting its iconic blue steel seat springs to a company in the United Kingdom called Westbridge Furniture Designs, which will manufacture a product called the Flexsteel Lounge.

"Taking our brand and our company globally, this is the first big initiative of taking that Flexsteel name across the Atlantic or to a global distribution. We're real excited about the partnership with Westbridge Furniture," Flexsteel director of advertising and public relations Justin Mills said. "Everything starts with that Flexsteel blue steel seat spring, made here in Dubuque, Iowa."

Flexsteel isn't alone in tapping the global market. Moline, Ill.-based John Deere manufactures its backhoes at the John Deere Dubuque Works facility, which celebrated its 250,000th backhoe Thursday.

"We build backhoes for North America only here," Deere's president of the forestry and construction division Mike Mach said of the Dubuque facility. "We have another construction facility in Davenport that builds other products like wheel loaders and motor graders, but for backhoes in North America, they're only made here."

The U.S. Department of Commerce says 29 states set new records for export sales in 2012, including Iowa. Iowa's top exports internationally in 2012 included machinery, food, agriculture products and chemicals. The state's largest market was Canada, followed by Mexico.

Companies large and small contribute to Iowa's global exports, the Department of Commerce says. More than 2,500 companies exported from the state, 84 percent of which were companies with 500 or fewer employees.

For more data about individual states' global exports, click HERE. For an interactive map of state and national export data, click HERE.

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