Iowa’s merchandise exports increased by 10 percent in 2012 from the previous year to a record $14.6 billion, the International Trade Administration (ITA) announced on Tuesday.

Total exports of goods and services by the United States reached an all-time high of $2.2 trillion in 2012, the ITA said in a press release.

Nearly 30 percent of Iowa’s total merchandise exports, $4.3 billion, were to Canada, the state’s largest export market. Canada was followed by Mexico ($2.5 billion), Japan ($892 million), China ($752 million), and Germany ($658 million).

Emerging markets with the biggest growth in exports from Iowa in 2012 included South Africa, Ukraine and China, to which exports from the state increased by 88 percent, 49 percent and 31 percent respectively compared with 2011.

Overall, key merchandise export categories include: machinery manufacturers; food and kindred products; agricultural products; chemicals; and transportation equipment.

“Iowa is seeing a lot of movement in worldwide export sales,” said Patricia Cook, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Des Moines, in a release. “Our office has also seen an uptick in the number of smaller firms and entrepreneurs looking to make new sales abroad.  Before you export, it is important to do your homework first, and our office can get you off to a good start.”

Click here for a fact sheet on Iowa’s export markets.