CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Several local business owners told Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., on Wednesday that exports are playing a growing role in the state's economy.
Steve Spence, from the West Virginia Development Office, said state businesses exported about $9 billion in products in 2011. Coal, primarily metallurgical coal mined in Southern West Virginia -- accounted for $5.3 billion of that total.
During the first six months of 2012, Spence said, West Virginia exported $3.5 billion worth of coal, which would reach $7 billion if the export rate remains the same during the current year's last six months.
Leslie Drake, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Charleston, said exports from West Virginia have increased by 31 percent this year.
Capito stressed the importance of recently passed federal legislation promoting trade with countries including South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
"We passed these bills because they are job creators. They are big deals. They are essential."
Capito presented the annual Export Achievement Certificate to Mike McCown and Industrial Bolting Technologies during a Charleston Area Alliance luncheon roundtable on Tuesday.
Based in Charleston, IBT sells, rents, leases and repairs equipment to manufacturing companies around the world. The company's tools include: pneumatic and hydraulic torque wrenches, impact and hammer wrenches, flange spreaders, nut splitters and stud tensioners.