CHARLESTON, W.Va. - International trade supports an estimated 169,000 jobs in West Virginia, and generated more than $11.4 billion in goods exports in 2012, according to a new study from the Business Roundtable.
The study, compiled from federal data and private research, found West Virginia's trade-related employment grew two times faster than the state's total employment from 2004 to 2011.
Goods exports have grown four times faster than state GDP since 2002. Customers in 152 countries around the world buy goods and services from the state, with top markets including Canada, China and the Netherlands.
The Business Roundtable is an association composed of executives from the largest U.S. companies. The organization's president, John Engler, said trade has proven a power engine for economic growth in recent years.
"With 95 percent of the world's population outside of the United States, and more than one in five American jobs supported by trade, U.S. international trade and investment agreements have a major role to play in maximizing economic growth in West Virginia and all 50 states," Engler said.According to the organization's study, West Virginia goods exports to U.S. trade with free trade agreement partner countries has grown by 200 percent since 2002. In 2012, $3 billion - 26 percent -- of West Virginia's goods exports went to U.S. free trade agreement partners.