Trade in goods has been turbulent since the start of pandemic-plagued 2020. Photo by Paul Teysen on Unsplash

Georgia exports grew by 9 percent in 2021 to $42.36 billion, a record total that resumed the state’s pre-pandemic growth trajectory and showed the prior year’s decline to be an anomaly.  

Total trade —the sum of exports and imports — also reached an unprecedented $166.11 billion, an increase of 20 percent from the prior year, as the U.S. and global economies recovered from the disruptions wrought by COVID-19 in 2020.  

Georgia was the 12th largest U.S. state for exports, sliding one position by that measure while still outpacing its rivals around the Southeast U.S. Georgia was seventh overall in the country for total trade.  

From an export perspective, Canada was the state’s largest customer, buying $6.1 billion in goods at a growth rate of 17.8 percent. Slightly quicker growth rates were experienced by most of the other markets rounding out the top five — China (No. 2 — 22 percent growth), Mexico (3 — 19.7 percent) and Singapore (5 — 23.4 percent).  

Germany, the state’s fourth biggest buyer, was the exception, as Georgia exports there declined by nearly 40 percent, perhaps a correction from the previous year, when exports to the country surged by 47 percent. Total trade with Germany also dropped by 2.8 percent in 2021.  

Other noteworthy export declines were the 2 percent drop in exports to Japan, which pushed that country down to No. 7 on Georgia’s list of export destinations, and the 10.6 percent drop to the United Kingdom, another traditional stronghold, which slipped to No. 9.  

Surging on both imports and exports was India, which has made its case as an increasingly important trading partner on both sides of the equation in the past few years. Imports from India skyrocketed by nearly 58 percent to $3.6 billion, presumably as more manufacturers began sourcing from the world’s largest democracy to offset tariffs and geopolitical risk in China.  

Similar trends may have animated Vietnam’s 48.3 percent growth as a source market to $4.9 billion in imports, a huge increase that came on top of already-impressive 51 percent growth rate in 2020 — the highest among any of Georgia’s import partners that year. From being absent on the state’s top-10 list of import partners, Vietnam has ascended to No. 7 in two short years.  

Even more so than Vietnam, however, India has become a key buyer for Georgia products; exports there climbed 38.7 percent in 2021, making country a billion-dollar export market for the first time and pushing it up to No. 7 on the export destinations lists. In terms of total trade, India was No. 9 — eclipsing the United Kingdom as a trading partner for the first time.  

China continued to be the state’s top trading partner overall,  despite deterioration in the bilateral relationship. With the world’s second largest economy continuing to grow after recovering from the pandemic’s early-2020 shock, Georgia exports to China grew by 22 percent, even as tariff levels on both sides remained elevated.  

Georgia also for the first time Global Atlanta has tracked these reports broke out the mode of transport by which goods arrived in the state. The breakdown: $103 billion through seaports in Savannah and Brunswick and $35.7 billion by air. The remainder presumably came by truck from Canada and Mexico.  

Read the full report here or see it embedded below.  

Georgia’s Top Exports by Product Category: 

  1. Civilian aircraft — $7.2 billion
  2. Cars — $3.6 billion
  3. Gas turbine parts — $1.4 billion
  4. Woodpulp — $1.2 billion
  5. Poultry — $1.2 billion
  6. Medical instruments — $998 million
  7. Kraft paper and paperboard — $912 million
  8. Automatic Data Processing Machines — $8.34 billion
  9. Cotton — $734 million
  10. Insecticides — $547 million

Georgia’s Top Imports by Product Category: 

  1. Motor vehicles — $10.2 billion
  2. Food preparations — $3.5 billion
  3. Immunological products — $3.1 billion
  4. Motor vehicle parts — $2.9 billion
  5. Automatic Data Processing Machines  — $2.5 billion
  6. Electrical apparatfor line telephony or line telegraphy — $2.5 billion
  7. Furniture — $2.4 billion
  8. Gas turbine parts — $2.4 billion
  9. Construction machinery — $2.3 billion
  10. Television receivers — $2.3 billion  


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...