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Exports advance by nearly 20 percent


New numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce understate the value of Spokane exports but accurately reflect strong growth in international sales, the head of the International Trade Alliance said Tuesday.

Spokane exports increased almost 20 percent from 2005 to 2006, the department reported last month. The 2006 total was $691 million.

Mark Peters said the Commerce Department uses “point of movement” when determining the point where exports originate, so only goods that move directly from Spokane to customers outside the United States are credited to Spokane. If the goods are repackaged at Seattle or Portland, he said, the value counts toward their export totals.

The department’s methodology probably ends up omitting international sales by companies such as United Coatings and Pearson Packaging Systems from Spokane County totals, Peters said.

He said he is trying to obtain raw export numbers from Commerce, or may work with Eastern Washington University to find out how a more inclusive number can be calculated.

The Commerce Department reported 2006 exports reached a record $1.4 trillion in goods and services. Totals for 369 metropolitan areas were included.

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area leaped to fourth in the 2006 rankings, with shipments in 2006 increasing 50 percent over 2005, to $46.3 billion.

The Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton area ranked 14th with $14.6 billion in exports. Those totals do not include commodities shipped from the Puget Sound or Columbia River ports.

In Idaho, Boise shipped goods worth $3 billion, and Coeur d’Alene $60.4 million worth.

New York-Northern New Jersey topped all areas with $66.2 billion in exports.

The International Trade Alliance holds its annual meeting Tuesday at the Mirabeau Park Hotel. For information or reservations, call Jenifer Priest at (509) 459-4124 or use e-mail,

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