Minnesota farm, manufacturing and mining exports shook off the doldrums, jumping an impressive 5 percent to $4.8 billion during the first quarter of 2017, state officials announced this week.

Demand for optics and medical instruments led all product categories with sales rising 2 percent to $883 million.

Minnesota's trade boost was the first quarterly growth for state exports since the fourth quarter of 2014,according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).. Still, Minnesota's trade growth lagged behind the nation. Total U.S. exports rose 7 percent during the  quarter.

State exports to Asia grew 9 percent to $1.6 billion during the first 13 weeks of the year, while exports to North America rose 2 percent to $1.6 billion with help from a bump in sales to Mexico and despite a slight decline in sales to Canada.

Canada, Minnesota's trading partner, bought $953 million worth of Minnesota-made goods during the first quarter, a 4 percent decline from year ago.

Minnesota exports to Europe and to Central and South America were flat.

In welcome news, however, Minnesota sales climbed 48 percent to $162 million in the Australia-Pacific region and 17 percent to $106 million in the Middle East, with strong demand from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Other countries in the top 10 were:

Mexico ($617 million, up 11 percent),

China ($559 million, up 13 percent),

Japan ($291 million, up 15 percent),

South Korea ($225 million, up 37 percent),

Germany ($192 million, up 6 percent),

Belgium ($176 million, down 19 percent),

The United Kingdom ($136 million, up 2 percent),

Singapore ($131 million, down 9 percent)

The Netherlands ($124 million, up 37 percent).


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