Whatcom County had a strong 2011 for exporting products to other countries - led by oil and raspberries.
According to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, the county exported products valued at more than $1.5 billion in 2011. That's a 34.2 percent increase from 2010, ranking this area 116th highest out of 376 U.S. metro areas.
Much of the increase took place in the petroleum category, which would include the BP Cherry Point and Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery. Local petroleum product export totals can vary widely from year to year, from $670.6 million in 2011 to $164.3 million in 2007.
Food manufacturing is the second-biggest export, coming in at $219.2 million in 2011. That's up from $185.3 million in 2010. A major factor in that category is raspberries. Whatcom raspberry farmers had their largest-ever harvest last year, bringing in 66.3 million pounds.
Also posting exporting increases locally were the wood product manufacturing industry ($131.5 million, up 20.8 percent compared to 2010) and the fishing category ($107.6 million, up 33 percent).
Exports increased in 308 metro areas between 2010 and 2011, according to the ITA. One of those metro areas was Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, which jumped from $35.4 billion in 2010 to $41.1 billion last year.
The Seattle area now ranks sixth-highest among metro areas; New York topped the list at $105.1 billion.
Top export markets for Seattle include China, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, according to the ITA.
"Exports are an increasingly important part of Seattle's economy as local businesses both big and small continue to look beyond our borders to increase their customer base," said Francisco Sanchez, commerce undersecretary for the ITA, in a news release accompanying the data.
After Seattle and Bellingham, top exporting metro areas entirely in Washington include Mount Vernon ($1.49 billion in 2011), Longview ($1.3 billion) and Yakima ($1.12 billion).
Reach Dave Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at email@example.com or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.