Georgia Cracks Top 10 of U.S. Exporting States

March 15, 2021

By: Georgia Farm Bureau

For the first time, Georgia ranked among the United States’ Top Ten exporting states in 2020, according to a release from Gov. Brian Kemp.

Georgia merchandise exports reached 215 unique countries and territories and experienced the lowest rate of export contraction among all top ten states, despite headwinds from a global pandemic.

Agriculture, the state’s largest economic sector, plays a key role in Georgia’s export success. Georgia agriculture delivered $4.25 billion in global exports, maintaining its export totals from 2019. Georgia remains a leading state for poultry, cotton, and peanuts, as well as forest products.

Georgia remained open for business in 2020, exporting $38.8 billion in goods as the state’s diverse industry base and global connectivity continued to drive its competitiveness. Total trade reached $137.7 billion in 2020, spanning 221 countries and territories. The state’s top five export markets were Canada, Germany, China, Mexico and Singapore. Several export markets experienced significant growth, with exports to Germany increasing nearly 50%, followed by China and Hong Kong at 45% and 41%, respectively.

Increased exports to China reflect purchases made under the Phase 1 trade agreement signed by the U.S. and China in January of 2020. The return of market access for U.S. poultry proved beneficial to Georgia producers.

Approximately two-thirds of Georgia trade involves the 12 strategic markets where the state maintains representation: Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Europe, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom. GDEcD’s international representatives play a critical role in facilitating global connections that generate economic success.

Approximately 90% of Georgia merchandise exports are manufactured goods, and the state’s manufacturing exports have grown by more than 30% over the last 10 years. Georgia’s second-largest manufacturing industry, aerospace products, remain the state’s No. 1 export, totaling $9.98 billion in 2020. Aerospace exports to Hong Kong surged more than 140% last year, while Germany remains the top customer for these products.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and their ideal location in the Southeast for original equipment manufacturers helped drive a 13% surge in automotive exports over 2019. The state’s robust automotive industry increased exports nearly 600% to Germany and more than 800% to China.

This announcement comes on the heels of the Georgia Ports Authority reporting growth during 2020. The Georgia Ports Authority moved more than 4.68 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in 2020, up 1.8% over its 2019 total of 4.59 million. Total cargo crossing all docks in 2020 reached 38.4 million tons.

Recently, the International Trade division launched Go Global Georgia, an initiative to provide funding for small business exporters and bolster new global opportunities. Eligibility and application guidelines for Go Global Georgia can be found at

Also in 2020, the state’s International Trade division earned an impressive fourth President’s “E Star” Award for Export Service from the U.S. Department of Commerce in recognition of “continuing significant contributions to an increase in U.S. exports.” The award is the highest honor given to providers of services to U.S. exporters. GDEcD is the first entity in the nation to earn a fourth “E” Award.

To read the full 2020 global trade summary, click here.

A variety of services for exporters, resources, and information on GDEcD’s International Trade division is available at