U.S. tech exports tumble

America's high-tech exports fell by 20 percent in the first six months of 2002 when compared to the first half of last year.
Written by Ian Fried, Contributor
America's high-tech exports dropped 20 percent in the first six months of 2002 when compared to the first half of last year, according to a study released Thursday.

During the first six months of this year, exports of tech gear produced in the United States totaled US$82.4 billion, down from US$102.5 billion in the first half of 2001, according to a report released by the AeA, a trade organization formerly known as the American Electronics Association.

"The data show that the tech industry is still struggling with the worldwide economic downturn of the last two years," AeA CEO William T. Archey said in a statement. "Not surprisingly, the sharpest downturns were to the European Union and Latin American countries. It will be quite sometime before exports return to the record levels of 1999 and 2000."

The largest decrease in total dollars was to the European Union, where U.S. tech exports dropped US$6.7 billion, or 27 percent. Shipments to Canada dropped US$3.3 billion, while those to Mexico fell US$2.3 billion. Argentina's economic woes prompted an 84 percent decline in U.S. exports, which fell to US$114 million in the first six months of this year, compared with US$700 million in the first half of 2001.

U.S. companies did increase exports to a few countries. Exports to China climbed 2 percent and exports to Malaysia increased 7 percent.

The group said the largest increase was in exports to Costa Rica, where several U.S. technology manufacturers have opened facilities. In the first half of this year, high-tech exports to Costa Rica increased 78 percent, or by roughly US$250 million, compared to the same period a year ago.

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