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Trade wars, slowing economy blamed for $643 million drop in Tennessee exports


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- A mid-state economist says Tennessee exports are taking a beating, but probably not for the reason that leaps to mind.


Middle Tennessee State Economist Steven Livingston says the state’s exports are off badly this year.


Livingston says the ongoing trade battles are partly to blame, but two other factors are driving the downturn. First, he notes fewer cars are being sold worldwide. That’s a blow to Tennessee’s large automotive sector.


Livingston says a slowing world economy is an even bigger factor.


“As we all know, everybody is trying to get the global economy growing, but so far it just really is not responding.”


In the Tennessee International Trade Report for the second quarter of 2019, Livingston notes a $643 million drop in the state's exports year-over-year. That represents a 7.5 percent decline, more than twice the national average three percent drop in exports.


Livingston says the trade wars are having a serious iimpact on some of Tennessee’s smaller industries, including liquor distillers, wood products and farm commodities.


One bright spot is Tennessee’s growing export of medical devices.


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