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Kankakee County Exports Up 74%, 16th Highest Growth in U.S.

From the Daily Journal 9-14-16

Kankakee County-produced products are traveling to points around the world in record numbers.

According to the recently released 2015 Metropolitan Area Export Overview, authored by the International Trade Administration, Kankakee County experienced a 74 percent increase in its world exports from 2014 to 2015.

The bulk of the increase can be attributed to chemical manufacturing, specifically products made here by Sun Chemical and Dow Chemical.

Sun Chemical produces ink for packaging and Dow produces materials for adhesives in automotive manufacturing at the Kankakee plants.

Much of that product is making its way to the Asian marketplace, most notably to China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand, said Evan Scritchfield, spokesman for U.S. Commercial Services, a trade promotion agency of the U.S. government.

“Asia is the future for U.S. manufacturing,” he said. “That is where the growth is and will continue to be.”

Nearly 44 percent of Kankakee County’s exports were delivered to the China, Japan and Korean. Another 30 percent went to Europe and 12 percent to Canada/Mexico.

Locally, Kankakee County experienced a $556.8 million increase in exports. In 2014, the county had $753 million of product leaving its border. The number jumped to $1.3 billion last year.

“The Bradley and Kankakee area’s export development exhibits how many local companies are finding success in foreign markets,” said Elizabeth Ahern, director of U.S. Commercial Services.

Kankakee County was one of 63 metro areas to achieve record exports in 2015.

Specific 2015 numbers were not released for the report regarding chemical manufacturing because of propriety issues. The 2015 chemical numbers will be released next year, Scritchfield said. However, in 2014, Kankakee County chemical manufacturing exceeded $483 million.

For 2015, printing manufacturing reached $61.4 million; food manufacturing, $43.4 million; and crop production $39.9 million.

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