CHARLESTON (AP) — After leading the rest of the U.S. in exports last year, West Virginia continues to see that part of its economy explode.
Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette told lawmakers Monday that exports by West Virginia companies to other countries jumped by more than 31 percent during the first half of this year.
Exports nationwide rose by 7 percent during this time.
West Virginia’s exports last year reached a record $9 billion, and topped the rest of the country by surging more than 39 percent over 2010.
Burdette cited U.S. Commerce Department statistics that also show that China has become West Virginia’s second-largest export market, after Canada. Italy, meanwhile, is 2012’s leading importer of West Virginia coal.
Coal remains West Virginia’s biggest export product, followed by plastics and auto industry materials.