Atlanta moved from an 18th place ranking among U.S. metropolitan areas in 2005 in export value to 17th in 2006, according to Census Bureau data released by the U.S. Commerce Department Jan. 24.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced the new data for 369 metropolitan areas during a speech he gave at the International Poultry and Feed Exposition in Atlanta.

“Atlanta is very well-positioned for international trade,” Jack McDougle, deputy assistant secretary for industry analysis at the department’s International Trade Administration, told GlobalAtlanta. Mr. McDougle fielded questions from the national media during conference call at the same time Mr. Gutierrez made the announcement.

“Atlanta is a main gateway for international trade because of the Southern Hemisphere, close relations with Latin America and the presence of marquee companies like Home Depot and Delta Air Lines,” he added.

Metro Atlanta’s export volume exceeded $11.3 billion and experienced a 3 percent growth from 2005 to 2006.

The International Trade Administration tabulated the export numbers by matching the ZIP codes entered on U.S. export declarations with counties assigned by the Office of Management and Budget to specific metropolitan areas.

This new series resembles an earlier metropolitan export series that was discontinued in 2001, but differs due to new electronic collection methods. The data is based on 2000 census definitions, and should not be compared to the earlier series, according to the agency.

According to the data, seven metropolitan areas posted export sales of $25 billion or more including NewYork-Northern New Jersey and Long Island; Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue; Detroit-Warren-Livonia; Chicago-Naperville-Joilet and San Jose-Sunnydale-Santa Clara.

Metro Atlanta, including Marietta and Sandy Springs, was among the 30 metro areas that exported between $5 billion and $24 billion. The 37 largest exporting metro areas accounted for 61 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports in 2006, according to the data.

Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, United Kingdom and Singapore were the leading destinations in that order for Atlanta exports in 2006. In 2005, China was not listed because the data was not available.

The main categories under the North American Classification System for Atlanta exports in 2006 were transportation equipment, computer and electronic products; machinery (not including electrical machinery), chemicals and food, in that order.

Figures for the amounts of goods sent from Atlanta and the other metro areas to Africa, Asia, Europe and South America are available at

Figures also are available for the amounts of goods sent to the 21 Pacific Rim countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the seven countries in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement, and the nations in the Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations and the North American Free Trade Agreement and the 13 countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...