Exports from Rocky Mount area top $1 billion

Posted November 9, 2012 3:28 p.m. EST

Merchandise exported by manufacturers in the Rocky Mount area has exceeded $1 billion for the first time in history, local and federal officials announced Friday.

Companies including Honeywell, engine maker Cummins Atlantic, Hospira pharmaceuticals and the Cheesecake Factory helped the area hit the historic mark, a city spokeswoman said.

The U.S. Department of Commerce recognized the achievement in a letter sent a few weeks ago to Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs.

“This success in your area’s export story warrants recognition, and I congratulate you,” Francisco J. Sanchez, undersecretary for international trade, wrote in the letter. “Now more than ever, cities large and small have a vital role to play when it comes to fueling the growth of U.S. exports.”

Sanchez said the $1 billion, which is based on 2011 data, contributes toward President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. He said American exports are on track to exceed last year’s record export of $2.1 trillion.