Hi-tech exports down 16 percent in 2009

A new report released Tuesday by the industry group TechAmerica shows U.S. hi-tech exports fell by 16 percent in 2009 to $188 billlion.

Hi-tech goods represented 18 percent of all U.S. exports, making tech the largest export sector in the U.S. economy. Hi-tech imports were also down 11 percent to $299 billion resulting in a hi-tech trade deficit of $111 billion.

“After several years of rising exports, the tech industry saw a 16 percent dip in 2009 largely resulting from the global economic downturn. These high-tech exports support nearly one million American jobs, and when exports decline, American jobs are threatened," said Josh James, vice president, research and industry analysis, TechAmerica Foundation.

"We believe it is critical to resist the urge to put up new barriers to trade and to pass the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea,” he added.

Hi-tech exports accounted for 944,300 jobs in the U.S. last year, with Europe, Mexico and Canada purchasing the most U.S. goods followed by China and Japan. Only four states saw hi-tech exports rise last year: Alaska, Wyoming, Louisiana and Arkansas. California led with $41.3 billlion in 2009, down 16 percent from a year earlier.