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March 4, 2024

CT among 9 states that saw global exports drop in the last 10 years

In 2013, Connecticut exported $16.4 billion worth of goods and services around the world. Ten years later, in 2023, that figure dropped to $15.8 billion, a 3% decrease, according to U.S. Census data prepared by the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Connecticut is one of nine states that saw a decrease in their total exports, along with Vermont, West Virginia, Idaho, Washington, Arkansas, Delaware, Oklahoma and Hawaii. Every other state saw an increase of at least 6%, with New Hampshire even doubling its exports’ worth.


Total exports are influenced by a variety of factors, such as political relationships, disruption to supply chains and domestic policy decisions. Even a change in the trade relationship with a few countries will have a large impact on the total value.

One example is Connecticut’s export relationship with France. The state exported over $2.4 billion worth of goods and services to France in 2013, making it the state’s top export destination. But 10 years later, Connecticut exported $1.05 billion worth of goods and services to the country, a 56% decrease, and making it the state’s 6th-largest export destination.

The same holds true for the United Arab Emirates, Connecticut’s 5th-largest export destination in 2013, bringing in $1.2 billion. But in 2023, only $260 million worth of goods were exported to the country, a 78% decrease.

That’s not the case for every trade relationship, though. Germany has been Connecticut’s top export destination since 2019. It had a 50% increase in imports from Connecticut over the past 10 years. The United Kingdom, too, had an increase of more than 50%, while the Netherlands more than doubled its imports from Connecticut. In all since 2013, 105 countries saw an increase in exports from Connecticut, while 78 saw a decrease.

Given the impact of a single country’s trade relationship with the state, Connecticut legislators pay close attention to exploring those ties. The Connecticut Mirror reported earlier this week that legislators are holding discussions about the economic and cultural ties between Connecticut and the United Kingdom, while a Connecticut-Ireland Trade Commission is being weighed as well. And in a report regarding Connecticut’s top industries presented to legislators this month, it was noted that “Economic growth has to come from export-serving industries … things that can be sold to customers outside the state,” as reported by the CT Mirror.

And sometimes it’s the industry itself that can have outsized impacts on the state’s export market. Connecticut’s top exported goods are aerospace products and parts, and no other products come close to it. Yet it saw a decrease in exports since 2013, going from $7.8 billion worth of exports in 2013 to $5 billion in 2023, a 36% decrease.

The runner-up products, industrial and general purpose machinery, more than doubled their exports. And of the state's top 20 exported products in 2023, only one tripled its exports: HVAC and commercial refrigeration equipment, which went from $99 million to $307 million worth of exports since 2013.

The state's fastest-increasing export products, although still not bringing in as much money as manufactured goods, are fruits and tree nuts, sugar confectionery, tobacco, and mushroom, vegetable and melon products, which all saw over a 300% increase since 2013.

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