Texas Surpasses California as Top Tech Exporter
By Dallas Morning News
Published: February 11, 2014
WASHINGTON–Texas is tops for tech exports, a new report says.
Companies in Texas making semiconductors, telecommunications devices, computers, and other items shipped more than $45 billion in products to other countries in 2012, according to a report by the TechAmerica Foundation, a lobbying and advocacy firm representing the technology industries. That’s a $3 billion rise from 2011.
Tech from Texas most often goes to Mexico– companies in the state shipped $22 billion south of the border in 2012. All that trade supported 331,000 jobs in Texas, the report said, also the most of any state. Texas has 22 percent of the nation’s technology manufacturing jobs.
“Texas is really happy to have this kind of emphasis put on its tech industry,” said Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Coppell, who appeared today at a news conference at the Capitol announcing the report with Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio. “It’s an incredible accomplishment to be the No. 1 state in the country.”
This is the first year that Texas topped California in tech exports. California exports were worth $44.8 billion in 2012, down nearly 3 percent from the previous year.
Matthew Kazmierczak, vice president of the foundation, attributed the shift to rising manufacturing costs in California and Texas’ business-friendly atmosphere.
He said tech companies in California are focusing more on product design, in part because the state’s higher labor costs makes manufacturing less competitive.
“Texas has done a very good job at making themselves an attractive location for manufacturing,” he said. He noted the dynamic isn’t just about interstate competition; Texas is also competitive with other countries that have traditionally attracted manufacturing.
Gov. Rick Perry touts Texas’ business-friendly approach to regulations and taxes, and its relatively low cost of living, in trying to lure companies from California and other states, for which he has taken some flack.
Marchant highlighted a booming tech industry near Dallas. “We’re a tech magnet,” said Marchant, whose district includes D/FW International Airport. The airport itself used to be the biggest economic engine around, he said, “but now it’s development around the airport.”
Marchant highlighted Texas Instruments, Verizon, and other large tech companies headquartered in the Dallas area as drivers of export growth, as well as companies like Xerox and IBM that do business in Texas.
Castro also touted Texas’ tech might, and said technology manufacturing is a huge asset to San Antonio. He credited the low cost of doing business in Texas.
“The high tech industry is not only growing in Texas, but it is also yielding thousands of high paying jobs in our state,” Castro said.
“We’ve really put our foot on the gas in regard to exports, but specifically in regard to tech exports,” he said, citing AT&T, General Dynamics, Raytheon and others. He also pointed to a new tech incubator program that seeks to foster start-ups in San Antonio.