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U.S. Construction Equipment Exports Rise 24 Percent in First Half

Exports of U.S.-made construction machinery gained 24 percent at mid-year 2008 compared to the first half of 2007, according to a study released by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. manufacturers have shipped more than $10 billion worth of equipment to global markets, AEM said.

All major world regions recorded double-digit growth except Central America, which had a 3 percent hike. Africa led the way with a 59-percent boost, followed by South America at 30 percent, the study said. Africa purchased $692 million worth of U.S.-made construction equipment, while South America took delivery of $1.4 billion in machines. Exports to Central America totaled $838 million.

Exports to Asia totaled $1.35 billion, a 16-percent year-over-year jump, and exports to Australia/Oceania spiked 19 percent to total $856 million for the first half of 2008.

Europe recorded purchases of $1.6 billion worth of machinery, a 21-percent gain, and exports to Canada jumped 28 percent to $3.35 billion.

“Exports remain a bright spot for the U.S. construction equipment manufacturing industry in these uncertain times, and whoever is elected president in November needs to focus on passage of free and fair trade agreements that eliminate barriers to commerce across borders,” said AEM senior vice president Al Cervero. “The lack of U.S. infrastructure investment is eroding America’s position as a global economic power as nations around the world substantially increase their commitments to modern transportation networks.”

The top 10 countries buying U.S.-made construction machinery during the first half of 2008 were Canada (3.35 billion), up 28 percent; Australia (824 million, up 18 percent); Mexico ($544.5 million, down 7 percent); Chile ($406 million, up 17 percent); South Africa ($369 million, up 47 percent); Belgium ($362 million, up 9 percent); Brazil ($258 million, up 59 percent); Singapore ($235 million, up 48 percent); Russia ($231 million, up 40 percent); Colombia ($230 million, up 44 percent). China was No. 11 at $224 million, a 30-percent decline.

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