Georgia’s $18.5 billion of merchandise goods exported in the first half of 2013 marks a record high for the state, the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration announced on Aug. 8.

The $18.5 billion represents a 4 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012, which marked $17.8 billion in exports.

The state’s merchandise export sales for the period outpaced corresponding figures for 2012 in many top destinations, according to a news release including the United Arab Emirates (+42 percent), the United Kingdom (+27 percent), Mexico (+14 percent), the Netherlands (+14 percent) and Turkey (+6 percent).

Key merchandise export categories included transportation equipment, machinery manufactures, chemicals, paper and food and kindred products.

Donald Nay, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Atlanta, said in a news release that many more local businesses have the potential to pursue export opportunities. “The U.S. Commercial Service would like to help businesses realize their export potential and engage in the global marketplace,” he added.

The U.S. Commercial Service, a branch of the International Trade Administration, connects U.S. companies with international buyers.

Companies interested in exporting may contact the U.S. Export Assistance Center by calling (404) 815-1498 or visiting its website by clicking here.

For more government information about the exports of individual states, click here.