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Arkansas Trade Facts

  • In 2017, Arkansas exported $6.2 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 36th largest state exporter of goods in 2017.

  • In 2017, Arkansas goods exports were $6.2 billion, an increase of 28 percent ($1.3 billion) from its export level in 2007.

  • Goods exports accounted for 5.0 percent of Arkansas GDP in 2017.
  • 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 2017, Arkansas exported $5.7 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 $1.7 billion of Arkansas's total goods exports in 2017.

  • Other top manufacturing exports are food & kindred products ($747 million), chemicals ($711 million), machinery, except electrical ($455 million), and paper ($450 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 2015.

Arkansas Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Arkansas exported $1.3 billion in goods to Canada in 2017, representing 20 percent of the state’s total goods exports.

  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($851 million), France ($728 million), China ($368 million), and United Kingdom ($250 million).

  • Arkansas’s exports (2017 Value)  to major world areas included:


2017 Value


$3.4 billion


$1.2 billion

European Union

$1.5 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$762 million

Sub-Saharan Africa

$62 million

  • 45 percent of Arkansas’s exports ($2.8 billion) go to current FTA partners.  

Agriculture in Arkansas depends on Exports

  • Arkansas is the country’s 16th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $3.0 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2016 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]
  • Arkansas exports of agricultural products supported roughly an estimated 28 thousand jobs in 2013 (latest data available), both on and off the farm.

  • Top Agricultural exports (2016 Value) were:


2016 Value

 2016 State Rank


$865 million



$768 million


broiler meat

$345 million



$178 million


soybean meal

$155 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in Arkansas

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 48,100 Arkansas workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Arkansas included the United Kingdom, France and France. 

  • 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 2016 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Arkansas recorded goods exports: Memphis ($11.6 billion), Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway ($1.9 billion), Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers ($683 million), Fort Smith ($408 million), Pine Bluff ($245 million), Texarkana ($104 million), Jonesboro ($101 million), Hot Springs ($78 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.