N.H. grows ’06 export business

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire businesses are on track to break a record for exports, shipping an estimated $2.8 million worth of products to other countries last year.

Final figures won’t be in until March, but the New Hampshire International Trade Resource Center expects the state will top its previous record of $2.6 billion set in 2005. A decade ago, the value of goods exported from New Hampshire amounted to just $1.4 billion.

What products do other countries want from New Hampshire? Industrial machinery, including computers, account for $705.5 million in sales, or 30 cents of every export dollar. Another $617.4 million goes for electric machinery, sound and TV equipment. The state also exported $11.9 million worth of seafood, $7.5 million in footwear, $3.5 million in pharmaceuticals and $1.7 million in live animals.

Such sales have generated an estimated 45,000 jobs in the state, said Dawn Wivell, the resource center’s director. That’s certainly true at EqualLogic, a Nashua company that makes computer data storage units.

The company added more than 100 workers last year to reach its current 258-member workforce, said spokesman Dylan Locsin. International sales to 30 countries made up 15 percent of the company’s overall sales in 2005 and 20 percent last year.

“International growth will definitely produce more jobs locally,” he said. Fred Kaen, co-director of the International Private Enterprise Center at the University of New Hampshire’s business school, said the good news is that companies that have been exporting the most products tend pay higher wages. About one in five manufacturing jobs in the state is tied to exports, and export-related jobs on average pay 12 percent higher, Wivell said.

Canada is the state’s top destination for exports, followed by China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. New Hampshire businesses exported goods to 162 countries last year.

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