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FACT SHEET: Unlocking Economic Opportunity for Texans Through Trade

The United States trade agenda will unlock opportunity for Texas workers, farmers and ranchers, and businesses – strengthening the American middle class 

In 2013, Texas exported a record-breaking $279.7 billion Made-in-America goods to the world – supporting 1.1 million jobs. Texas is the largest exporter of cotton in the United States.  In 2012, Texas exported $1.6 billion worth of cotton – 25% of all U.S. cotton exports.  Trade is a key driver of Texas’ economy, and President Obama’s two highest trade priorities, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), will give Texas and the United States enhanced access to three out of Texas’ largest five export markets – Mexico, Canada and the European Union. What’s more, T-TIP will include Texas’s top 3 sources of foreign investment: the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands (as of 2011, the latest year available).

Exports Support Jobs in Texas and Across the United States

  • In 2013, Texas goods exports reached a record-breaking height of $279.5 billion, an increase of 183%, or $180.6 billion, from its export level in 2003.
  • 1.1 million jobs were supported by Texas exports in 2013.
  • In 2011 (latest year available), over one-fourth (26.1 %) of all manufacturing workers in Texas depended on exports for their jobs.
  • Total exports from Texas helped contribute to the record-setting value of U.S. goods and services exports in 2013, which reached $2.3 trillion.
  • Nationally, jobs supported by exports reached more than 11 million in 2013, up 1.6 million since 2009.
  • Every billion dollars of U.S. exports of goods supported an estimated 5,400 jobs in 2013.
  • Jobs supported by goods exports pay an estimated 13% to 18% above the national average.

Exports Sustain Thousands of Texas Businesses

  • A total of 40,737 companies exported from Texas locations in 2012. Of those, 37,921 (93.1 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  •  Small and medium-sized firms generated nearly one-third (30.6 percent) of Texas’ total exports of merchandise in 2012.

Texas Depends on World Markets

  • Texas’ export shipments of merchandise in 2013 totaled $279.5 billion.
  • The state’s largest market was Mexico. Texas posted merchandise exports of $100.9 billion to Mexico in 2013, representing 36.1 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports.
  • Mexico was followed by Canada ($26.1 billion), Brazil ($10.9 billion), China ($10.8 billion), and the Netherlands ($9.5 billion)
  • Texas’ exports to our 20 existing trade agreement partners cover 60% of Texas’ overall exports ($168.8 billion). 
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is petroleum and coal products, which accounted for $60.6 billion of Texas' total merchandise exports in 2013.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are electronic products ($48.2 billion), chemicals ($47.9 billion), machinery ($30.0 billion), and transportation equipment ($24.4 billion).
  • Texas is the country’s 6th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $6.5 billion in agricultural exports in 2012 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]  Texas was the largest state exporter of cotton ($1.6 billion), beef and veal ($855 million), hides and skins ($431 million), and the 6th largest exporter of poultry ($323 million). 

Texas Will Benefit from the United States Trade Agenda

  • The Obama Administration’s top trade priorities are the negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the Asia-Pacific Region and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – two state-of-the-art agreements that will unlock opportunity in the United States by fostering economic growth, supporting jobs, and bolstering our competitiveness.
  • Three out of Texas’ top five export markets will be covered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Canada, and Mexico), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (Netherlands), making it easier for Texas workers, farmers and ranchers, and businesses to sell more Made-in-America exports to Texas’ main customers.
  • 54% of Texas’ exports ($150.5 billion) already go to TPP countries. 
  • 11% of Texas’ exports ($29.7 billion) already go to T-TIP countries.

International Investment Creates Jobs in Texas

  • In 2011 (latest year available), foreign-controlled companies employed 460,100 Texas workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Texas in 2011 included United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
  • Foreign investment in Texas was responsible for 5.2 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2011.

Texas’ Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

In 2013, the following metropolitan areas in Texas recorded goods exports:

  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land ($115.0 billion)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington ($27.6 billion)
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels ($19.3 billion)
  • El Paso ($14.4 billion)
  • Austin-Round Rock ($8.9 billion)
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur ($8.2 billion)
  • Laredo ($5.6 billion)
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission ($5.3 billion)
  • Texarkana ($158 million), portions of this MSA are shared with one or more other states
  • Brownsville-Harlingen ($4.6 billion)

[1] Estimates of State exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.