Sales of agriculture, mining and manufacturing exports from Minnesota dipped 4% between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, falling to $5.4 billion, according to a report released on Tueaday, May 18 by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

U.S. exports rose year over year by 2% during the same period. Minnesota exports grew 6% in March 2021 over March 2020, interrupting persistent monthly declines since March 2020.

“It’s a positive sign to see our exports increasing in March, a trend we hope continues in the coming months as our economy recovers,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a news release. “DEED’s Minnesota Trade Office is ready to help Minnesota companies renew relationships with existing customers and open avenues to new markets as the global economy emerges from the pandemic.”

Canada ($1.4 billion) and Mexico ($608 million) were the state’s two largest export markets in the first quarter of 2021. Other market leaders were China ($559 million), Japan ($336 million), Germany ($223 million), Korea ($159 million) and Belgium ($158 million), according to DEED.

Minnesota’s exports increased 3% to North America, boosted by growth to Mexico (up 16%). State exports slid 10% to both Asia and the European Union. While exports began to rebound in markets such as Belgium (up 12%), Taiwan (up 46%) and the Philippines (up 64%), they continued to struggle in Canada, China, Japan, Germany and Korea.

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Exports of four of the state’s top 10 products grew in the first quarter: machinery (up 19%), electrical equipment (up 11%), vehicles (up 9%) and food by-products (up 27%). Machinery exports were propelled by machinery used to make semiconductors sold to the Philippines (up $104 million).

The full first quarter 2021 report is available here: Export and Trade Statistics.