Merchandise exported from the Des Moines-West Des Moines metropolitan area totaled a record $1.2 billion in 2012, an increase of 22 percent over 2011, the International Trade Administration announced today. "Even in these challenging economic times, many local companies are working to enhance their competitiveness and bottom line by making new sales abroad," said Patricia Cook, director of U.S Commercial Service in Des Moines. According to the report, Greater Des Moines was one of 153 metropolitan areas that exceeded $1 billion in exports. Key export categories for Greater Des Moines included agricultural products, plastics and rubber products, processed foods, machinery and chemicals. For more information on exporting opportunities, visit