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Tucson to Timbuktu: exports on the rise in landlocked Arizona

Arizona, despite its landlocked position, is finding exports -- more than doubling in three years -- a major factor in its economy.

Recently compiled figures by the Arizona Office of Economic Planning and Development show 450 businesses increased exports to $2.7 billion in 1980, compared with $1.9 billion in 1979 and $1.2 billion in 1977. The state agency says about 47,500 jobs can be directly related to exports of goods or local expenditures by foreign tourists.

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The biggest export segment is manufacturing, accounting for $1.6 billion in 1980, up from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Agricultural exports advanced to $473 million from $372 million, while mineral exports increased to $640 million from

Japan is the main destination, claiming almost 15 percent of Arizona's exports. France accounts for nearly 12 percent, followed by the United Kingdom with 5 percent and Canada with 4 percent.

Growing world demand for sophisticated Arizona-made electronic equipment and components pushed manufacturing exports in 1980 to almost 29 percent of the state's total manufactured output. An estimated 25,400 manufacturing jobs - 1 out of 6 - are directly dependent on the state's involvement in international trade. This ranks Arizona third highest in the United States - after Alaska and Washington - in export-related manufacturing employment as a percentage of total manufacturing positions.

Strong international markets for food and fiber, coupled with Arizona's sunny , mild climate and year-round growing season, gave agricultural exports a lift. Most went to Asia, including 90 percent of the state's cotton crop, and large portions of citrus (with 75 percent of it going to Japan) and wheat.

Almost 30 percent of the Grand Canyon State's mineral output is exported. That includes copper (Arizona mines produce more than 65 percent of the nation's output), molybdenum, gold, and silver. A fourth of the 20,000 mining jobs are directly related to mining exports.

Meanwhile, foreign visitors spent about $655 million in Arizona in 1980. Mexican nationals accounted for an estimated $517 million, according to Valley National Bank of Arizona, Phoenix, with Canadians finishing a distant second with $78 million.

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