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By Greg Hugh

The volunteer staff of China Insight have been wrestling for the past several years as how to continue with the publication as a news source that began publishing in 2001 as the only English-language newspaper  that focused exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  At that time there were two other Asian publications in town, Asian American Times and Asian Pages. Both are no longer being produced.

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Minnesota exports, including agricultural, mining and manufactured products, grew almost 12 percent to US$5.3 billion in the second quarter of 2011 – a record quarterly high. The national export growth rate was 18 percent. Vermont was the only state with decreased exports during this period.

Minnesota exports, including agricultural, mining and manufactured products, grew almost 12 percent to US$5.3 billion in the second quarter of 2011 – a record quarterly high. The national export growth rate was 18 percent. Vermont was the only state with decreased exports during this period.

For the manufacturing sector alone, Minnesota manufactured exports were up 10 percent to US$4.7 billion in the second quarter of 2011, while U.S. manufactured exports increased 15 percent.

Note: Reports based on 2011 data cover export data based on the Harmonized System, which include manufactured and non-manufactured exports such as agriculture and mining but not services.

Consistent Strong Demand in Asia and North America Drives Growth

· The state's strongest-performing regions were Asia and North America, where state export growth rates exceeded national growth rates. Minnesota exports to North America increased 19 percent (or up US$298 million) to US$1.9 billion, with strong gains to both Canada and Mexico. The state's exports to Asia jumped 18 percent to US$1.8 billion (or up US$272 million), led by Japan, China and the Philippines.

·  Minnesota sales increased 10 percent to US$217 million to Central and South America – led by expanded opportunities in Brazil (up 17 percent to US$76 million, ranked 18th) – and by 6 percent to US$141 million to the Australia-Pacific region – led by Australia (up 6 percent to US$126 million, ranked 12th). State exports also grew well to the Middle East (up 8 percent to US$86 million).

·  Minnesota exports declined by 4 percent to US$1.1 billion to the European Union. Export trends to the EU were dampened by export declines to the Netherlands, France, Ireland and Germany, despite strong performances by Belgium and Italy. State exports also fell by 4 percent to other countries in Europe to US$91 million.

Cereals, Electrical Machinery and Mineral Fuel Lead Growing Product Groups

·  Exports of electrical machinery products increased 22 percent to US$698 million between the second quarters of 2010 and 2011. The main growing product segments were industrial furnaces (fueled especially by a US$30 million increase in sales to China), integrated circuits (driven by a US$26 million gain in exports to the dominant market, the Philippines) and telecommunications equipment (where growth was widespread and included Italy, Japan and Germany).

·  Exports of cereals (mainly corn) jumped 296 percent to US$197 million. Japan was the primary market for the state's cereals, accounting for 57 percent of these sales. Booming exports of corn to Japan jumped from less than US$18 million to US$112 million over the past year. The next largest markets also showed strong growth: Mexico (up 1,520 percent to US$28 million) and South Korea (up 151 percent to US$26 million).

·  The strongest-growing segments of vehicle products were passenger vehicles (including snowmobiles) (up 60 percent to US$138 million, with the strongest gains in Canada and Italy), tractors (up 90 percent to US$37 million, with the strongest gains in Canada), vehicle parts (up 53 percent to US$40 million, where the leading growth markets were Canada, Mexico and South Korea) and public transportation vehicles (up 90 percent to US$20 million, virtually all sold to Canada).

·  Medical exports (proxy of HS 9018 to HS 9033) dropped by less than 1 percent, indicating a relatively encouraging sign, given the quarterly slide in medical exports since the first quarter of 2009. While medical exports declined to the Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore and Ireland, they grew strongly in rising medical markets such as China (up 15 percent to US$76 million), Canada (up 25 percent to US$58 million) and South Korea (up 62 percent to US$27 million). Although declines in sales of orthopedic and artificial body parts persisted (down 25 percent to US$132 million), sales of medical measuring instruments were up 36 percent to US$82 million.

·  Mineral fuels and oil exports jumped 237 percent to US$166 million, primarily to Canada, which accounted for 99 percent of these sales.

·  Exports of ores, slag and ash (mainly consisting of iron ores) dropped 44 percent to US$128 million. This decline resulted from drops in demand in France, Germany and Belgium, which had uncharacteristically large purchases in the second quarter of 2010 but no purchases in the second quarter of 2011. Minnesota's usual primary market for these goods, Canada, had a modest drop of 6 percent to US$113 million.

Minnesota Quarterly Export Statistics is the most current resource available for tracking the state's manufactured export trends and is prepared for the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) by the Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) Analysis and Evaluation Office (Thu-Mai Ho-Kim, 651-259-7180).  Starting with the first quarter 2011, the quarterly and annual statistics reports will primarily cover export data based on the Harmonized Tariff System (Schedule B), collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC) and distributed by the Global Trade Information Services, rather than data based on the North American Industry Classification System industries (NAICS), collected by the USDOC and distributed by the World Institute of Social and Economic Research.  Thus, current and future reports may not be comparable to past reports; all reports are available on the DEED website on the Export Statistics page ( 

Asians in America: dialog with Qiang Fang, professor of East Asian History, UM-Duluth


"A Nation of Immigrants"* is a biweekly talk show featuring the lives of U.S. immigrants, knowledge, diversity and inclusion.  This program was created by Kingsfield Law Office in collaboration with ThinkTech Hawaii.  Every other week, "A Nation of Immigrants" will be broadcast live on multiple local channels in Hawaii and streamed on www./ and major internet platforms.  The host of "A Nation of Immigrants" is Chang WANG, partner of Kingsfield Law Office. 

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Tensions Over Taiwan

In video "Tensions over Taiwan", three experts at The University of Wisconsin shed light on the economic and strategic implications of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry globally should Taiwan be governed by the PRC.


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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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