A new report showed Georgia‘s exports of high-tech products dropped by $222 million between 2008 and 2009, an 8 percent decline to $2.5 billion, landing the state at No. 17 in the U.S.

Canada was the top destination for Georgia’s high-tech products, followed by Mexico and the Netherlands. The top product category was communications equipment at $508 million, according to TechAmerica Foundation‘s annual report on the international trade of U.S. high-tech goods.

Trade agreements like Nafta have helped Georgia companies find new markets, and politicians should fight protectionism in order to expand these opportunities, said Tino Mantella, president of the Technology Association of Georgia, in a TechAmerica news release.

“We need to push our leaders in Washington to continue to open new markets for U.S. technology exports and to avoid the temptation to put up barriers to trade as a knee-jerk reaction to tough economic times,” Mr. Mantella said.

The U.S. is currently in the throes of ironing out sticking points with South Korea on the largest bilateral free-trade deal since Nafta. When the deal was first negotiated in 2007, the International Trade Administration estimated that it would boost U.S. exports by nearly $11 billion annually.

U.S. high-tech exports fell by 16 percent nationwide to $188 billion. These exports support 944,300 jobs across the country, the report said.

Visit www.techamericafoundation.org for more information.

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...