3 New Mexico cities rank in top 5 for export growth nationwide

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Three New Mexico cities have been ranked among the top five metropolitan areas in the country with the most export growth, New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez said.

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Martinez said a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows Las Cruces, Farmington, and Santa Fe broke records for export growth. Las Cruces and Farmington came in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Santa Fe was ranked fifth.

"I've always said that if we provide an environment that is friendly to job creators, we can level the playing field with neighboring states and become a leader in exports," Martinez said in a news release Friday.

Martinez said the rankings confirm the state's strides to diversify its economy and grow in the private sector. But the state had more work to do to be seen as a leader in international trade, she added.

According to the department report, the Las Cruces area dominated other cities with an export growth of more than 210 percent in the last year. That amounted to a gain of $913 million with an overall total of $1.3 billion in growth. Farmington saw export growth of 140 percent in the last year. The city's export business generated $83 million, an increase of $49 million. Santa Fe's export growth rose by 102 percent last year, totaling $38 million.

A majority of the exports were to markets where the U.S. has trade agreements. Key exports from the state include appliances, electronic parts, plastic and rubber products and transportation equipment. The state's reach touched North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries and places in Europe and Asia.

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New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela credited the gains to tax policy changes, trade missions and flourishing relationships with leaders in other countries.