South Carolina

South Carolina Exports & Foreign Investment


In 2023, South Carolina exported not a record $37.3 billion of goods to the world.  In 2021, exports from South Carolina supported an estimated 116 thousand jobs.


Exports from South Carolina and Jobs

  • South Carolina was the 17th largest state exporter of goods in 2023.
  • In 2023, South Carolina goods exports were $37.3 billion, an increase of 42 percent ($11 billion) from its export level in 2013 (latest data available).
  • Goods exports accounted for 11.6 percent of South Carolina GDP in 2023 (latest data available).
  • South Carolina goods exports in 2021 (latest data available) supported an estimated 116 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Manufacturing Exports from South Carolina and Jobs

  • In 2023, South Carolina exported $36.4 billion of manufactured products.
  • South Carolina exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 112 thousand jobs in 2021 (latest data available).
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $19.4 billion of South Carolina's total goods exports in 2023.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($4.2 billion), plastics and rubber products ($2.9 billion), machinery, except electrical ($2.3 billion), and electrical equipment, appliances and components ($1.4 billion).


Exports Sustain Thousands of South Carolina Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 6,537 companies exported from South Carolina locations in 2022 (latest data available). Of those, 5,485 (84 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  •  Small and medium-sized firms generated 13.2 percent of South Carolina's total exports of goods in 2022.


South Carolina Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Germany. South Carolina exported $4.7 billion in goods to Germany in 2023, representing 13 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Germany was followed by Canada ($4.5 billion), China ($3.9 billion), Mexico ($3.0 billion), and Belgium ($2.0 billion).
  • South Carolina’s exports to major world areas included:


2023 Value


$19.6 billion


$13.1 billion

European Union

$9.2 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$2.7 billion

Sub-Saharan Africa 

$733 million



  • 36 percent of South Carolina’s goods exports ($13.4 billion) in 2023 went to current FTA partners. 

Agriculture in South Carolina depends on Exports

  • South Carolina is the country’s 34th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $1.2 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2022 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]
  • Top Agricultural exports were:


2022 Value

 2022 State Rank

other plant products

$265 million



$256 million


broiler meat

$131 million



$120 million



$61 million




International Investment Creates Jobs in South Carolina

  • In 2021 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 170,900 South Carolina workers. Major sources of foreign investment in South Carolina included Germany, France and Canada
  • Foreign investment in South Carolina was responsible for 9.5 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2021.

South Carolina’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

In 2022 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in South Carolina recorded goods exports: Greenville-Anderson ($14.4 billion), Charleston-North Charleston ($4.3 billion), Spartanburg ($2.2 billion), Florence ($1.1 billion), Sumter ($123.4 million), Hilton Head Island-Bluffton ($65.6 million), and Anderson ($0 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.