Fears about 'job competition' less worrisome
Mexico and China have been painted by many politicians and unions as enemies to the American economy.
Those two countries and Canada helped Michigan set a record for exports in 2013 of $58.46 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, topping the 2012 mark of $56.99 billion.
Canada was the No. 1 consumer of Michigan goods at $25.94 billion, up from $25.4 billion in 2012. Mexico was No. 2 at $12.17 billion, a 16 percent increase from 2012. China was No. 3 at $4.15 billion, a 27 percent increase from 2012.
Michigan's exports to China have increased from $211 million in 2000 to $4.15 billion in 2013.
"It's telling us that the countries that Michigan residents fear about job competition are also the fastest growing markets for Michigan products," said James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Nexthermal Corp. in Battle Creek has added 28 jobs in the last three years, in part due to its expanding international market. Nexthermal was part of a group of several businesses that went on a trade mission to China with Gov. Rick Snyder in the fall of 2013.
Ken Sunden, vice president of sales and marketing for Nexthermal, said that while his company was affiliated with a German company, they were limited to export to North America and India.
Now they are a fully American-owned company and sell industrial heating equipment in 18 countries, including China and Mexico.
"We've essentially opened up the world to our company," Sunden said.