Arkansas Trade Facts

  • In 2018, Arkansas exported $6.4 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world.  In 2016, exports from Arkansas supported an estimated 41 thousand jobs.

Exports from Arkansas and Jobs

  • Arkansas was the 37th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • In 2018, Arkansas goods exports were $6.4 billion, an increase of 12 percent ($671 million) from its export level in 2008.
  • Goods exports accounted for 5.0 percent of Arkansas GDP in 2018.
  • Arkansas goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 41 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Arkansas and Jobs

  • In 2018, Arkansas exported $5.9 billion of manufactured products.
  • Arkansas exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 26 thousand jobs in 2016.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $1.6 billion of Arkansas's total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($822 million), food & kindred products ($765 million), machinery, except electrical ($535 million), and paper ($494 million).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Arkansas Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 2,265 companies exported from Arkansas locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 1,765 (78 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 19.6 percent of Arkansas's total exports of goods in 2016.

Arkansas Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Arkansas exported $1.2 billion in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 19 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($870 million), Saudi Arabia ($397 million), France ($326 million), and China ($307 million).
  • Arkansas’s exports (2018 Value)  to major world areas included:


2018 Value


$3.5 billion


$1.9 billion

European Union

$1.2 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$768 million

Sub-Saharan Africa

$39 million

  • 46 percent of Arkansas’s exports ($3.0 billion) go to current FTA partners. 

Agriculture in Arkansas depends on Exports

  • Arkansas is the country’s 16th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $3.2 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]
  • Top Agricultural exports (2017 Value) were:


2017 Value

 2017 State Rank


$889 million



$715 million


broiler meat

$396 million



$283 million


soybean meal

$162 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in Arkansas

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 47,000 Arkansas workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Arkansas included the United Kingdom, France and Japan.
  • Foreign investment in Arkansas was responsible for 4.7 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

Arkansas’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Arkansas recorded goods exports: Memphis ($11.2 billion), Little Rock ($2.1 billion), Fayetteville ($635.2 million), Fort Smith ($421 million), Pine Bluff ($283.7 million), Texarkana ($267.6 million), Jonesboro ($97.3 million), Hot Springs ($80.4 million).


[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.