WV continues to rely heavily on exports - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WV continues to rely heavily on exports

Posted: Updated:

Goods exported from West Virginia continue to make up a significant portion of the nation's gross domestic product.

That was one of the points Jose "Zito" Sartarelli, Milan Puskar dean of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, made Nov. 15 at the school's annual Economic Outlook Conference in Charleston. Sartarelli pointed out that there are some good and bad things about exporting, especially to Europe.

"As soon as that Euro-zone slows down and is not growing any longer, our exports suffer," he said.

West Virginia's economy totals $65 billion, Sartarelli said. Revenues from his former employer, Johnson & Johnson, total $67 billion. And West Virginia's exports total more than the U.S as a whole.

"We are exporting this year about $13-$14 billion, so a significant portion of GDP is exports," he said. "That's a lot higher than the U.S. as a whole."

U.S. exports total about $2 billion, and coal makes up more than 50 percent of goods exported. Because West Virginia is the second-highest coal producing state, Sartarelli said it is important coal companies become export savvy. He said the WVU College of Business and Economics has implemented programs to help business owners learn more about exporting.

Countries around the world depend on West Virginia's metallurgical coal for their steel industries. Countries such as Canada, China, Brazil, India, Italy and Ukraine are some of the biggest importers of West Virginia coal, making the state competitive on a global scale.

"Some of these countries are in major markets, others are not," Sartarelli said. "These are developing economies. What you're going to find is developing economies will continue pulling in our exports. Other countries, not as much because they're in recession or close to recession."

Some of those developing economies, such as Japan, Brazil and China, felt little to no effect of the 2009 Great Recession, Sartarelli said. Those countries are expected to remain at 5 percent to 6 percent of GDP over the next couple of years.