Minnesota exports stalled in the first quarter of the year, the state reported Wednesday, right in line with slower growth in national exports.
Sales of agricultural, mining and manufactured products reached $4.9 billion in the first quarter of 2013, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Manufactured goods were 
Technically it was another record quarter, though the year-over-year growth was only three-tenths of one percent. The same story played out in the first three months of the year nationally, as exports rose less than a percent, to $390 billion.  
“Minnesota exports increased by $17 million compared to the first quarter of 2012, contributing to overall growth of our economy,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the economic development agency.
Exports from Minnesota declined in China, Mexico, Japan, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom, probably reflecting slower growth in China and continued economic weakness in Europe.
One bright spot was Canada, by far Minnesota’s largest trade partner, where exports grew 8 percent in the first quarter.
Canada accounted for 29 percent of all Minnesota exports in the first quarter, at $1.4 billion. The next largest trade partner was China, which at $533 million accounted for 11 percent of all exports.
Machinery led all export products, reaching $1 billion, down 4 percent from the same period one year ago. Other top products were optic, medical at $797 million, up 2 percent; electrical machinery at $612 million, no change; vehicles at $432 million, up 17 percent; and plastic at $240 million, down 14 percent.
Exports of aerospace equipment from Minnesota more than doubled, led by increased sales of civilian aircraft parts to the Netherlands. Canada and Belgium were responsible for much of the gains in vehicle sales including passenger cars, snowmobiles, special purpose vehicles, motor trucks and tractors.
Several of the state’s thumbnail export reports are available here.