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Commissioner Rose: Exporting a Vital Part of NH Economy

The recent article exploring New Hampshire’s exports, while interesting, drew conclusions that diminishes our role in a record-setting year for US exports.

In 2013, the United States set an all-time record – $2.3 trillion – for the value of goods exported around the world. New Hampshire was a part of that success, with strategic growth in some of our higher paying sectors, such as electronics, optics and military/defense components.

The US Department of Commerce uses a complex methodology to measure exports and their growth – methodology that has been in place for decades and which determines the value of each state’s activity in the global marketplace. The data provided is the accepted measure of exports by state and federal agencies, as well as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.

By using the Origin of Movement (OM) series, the Department of Commerce determines the breakdown of over $2 trillion in exports. The OM can be the location of where the item was produced or the location of a distributor, warehouse or cargo processing facility. New Hampshire export statistics credit the movement of oil into the state, just as another state receives credit for millions of dollars’ worth of components produced in New Hampshire.

The results can, indeed, be curious; such as how much oil the Granite State is credited with exporting or how much gold leaves Massachusetts or how many diamonds from New York. It is important to recognize that New Hampshire is by no means the only state that exports goods not usually associated with its leading industries.

OM is not a perfect system, largely because it was never designed to measure production. But it is the accepted way to calculate the worth of the nation’s exports. Under the definitions and regulations in place, oil is a New Hampshire export.

It is also important to note that there is more to exporting than the merchandise goods the OM series covers. Services, like consulting and financial services, as well as tourism and education, two important sectors in our economy, are considered exports, but they are not calculated in data compiled by the federal agency.

Exporting is a vital part of the state’s economy and every year, more of our companies are tapping into markets around the world with great success. Our record makes our state attractive to foreign investors, companies looking to expand in the US and international students seeking a quality education.

To simply extract the value of oil that flows through New Hampshire and proclaim the total to be credible data is overly simplistic and gives no credit to thousands of companies in New Hampshire contributing to the nation’s exporting success.

 

Jeffrey Rose

Commissioner

NH  Department of Resources and Economic Development

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