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Exports to Europe are vital part of Utah's economy

By Tonya Papanikolas | Posted - Nov 18th, 2012 @ 2:14pm


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FRANKFURT, Germany — Utah is red-hot when it comes to international business, and part of the reason is the state's emphasis on exports.

For the last couple decades, Utah leaders have recognized they are not competing with Wyoming or Idaho but other countries around the world.

Outside Frankfurt, Germany, Mehdi Ayari is sharing how he lost weight.

"My dream is I wanted to lose 120 pounds, and now I have lost 120 pounds after 10 months," Ayari said.

He dropped the pounds by taking a nutritional shake from Utah multi-level marketing company Monavie. Now Ayari is a distributor.

"I believe in the business. It's for everybody," Ayari said.

Utah's exports
The United Kingdom is Utah's largest export partner.

The top categories of exports to Europe are: precious stones and metals followed by medical and surgical instruments.

The company has done well since expanding into Germany two years ago, growing by "several hundred percent," the company boasts. Now in five Western European countries, Monavie believes Europe is fertile ground for its antioxidant health juices.

The European neutraceutical industry is growing.

Europe is importing quite a few medical devices. Utah business Biofire Diagnostics recently found a distributor in Germany for its FilmArray device, which tests DNA for dozens of lethal viruses and bacteria.

"We think this is a really good new product," said Dr. Klaus Ackermann of Seki Sui Virotech.

They sell it to hospitals, universities and private labs.

Businesses like these are adding to Utah's large export totals.

Last year Utah directly exported $19 billion worth of goods — 43 percent of that went to Europe.

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"Utah is very much thinking internationally," said Franz Kolb, Europe international trade director to Utah. "We have doubled our exports in the last five years."

Utah is the only state to do that. We're on track to do the same in the next five years. Leaders say the main focus now is diversifying what types of products we export.

"We will focus on the neutraceutical industries, the biomedical industries, information technology industries, the aerospace industries," Kolb said.

All of those industries help Utah's economy. The governor's office estimates every third dollar in Utah is generated from international business.

"The more we export, the more jobs we create, the more it helps our economy," Kolb said.

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Tonya Papanikolas

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