ATLANTA -- An increase in exports from Georgia to Europe offset decreases to Asia and Latin America during the past 12 months, according to new state figures that show an overall boost of 1.2 percent.
The state's total trade reached $11.2 billion for the first nine months of the year. That was slightly slower than the 2 percent growth rate for all of the previous year and far below the 17 percent tempo of 1997.
During the 12 months from Oct. 1, 1998, to Sept. 30, 1999, the decrease in the dollar value of shipments to countries like Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia was balanced by higher exports to The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Norway and others in Europe.
Italy, for example, had been Georgia's 16th largest market a year ago, but it has risen to the 12th spot on the strength of a 13 percent increase, passing countries like Taiwan, which saw a 20 percent decrease. Brazil retained the No. 6 slot though it also spent 20 percent less on Georgia products.
But officials with the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism, which released the figures, expect Asian and Latin American volume to improve while the rest of the world continues at a healthy pace. They base that on reports from their representatives abroad and observations during recent trade missions.
"The illustration that people were using in Southeast Asia is the downturn is more like a `V' than a `U,' " said Kevin Langston, director of the department's International Trade Division. "Things have bottomed out and are improving in a hurry."
Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424.