U.S. construction equipment exports dropped 36 percent during the first half of 2009, with $6.4 billion shipped to global markets from January through June, compared to $10.1 billion at midyear 2008, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
All world regions recorded double-digit declines in construction equipment exports for the first half of 2009, led by Europe and Canada. Exports declined 53 percent to Europe for a total $777 million, and dropped 45 percent to Canada for a total $1.8 billion.
Exports to Asia decreased 30 percent to $939 million. Australia/Oceanias export purchases decreased 42 percent to $497 million, while Africa took delivery of $528 million worth of construction equipment, a 24 percent drop.
"U.S. exports of construction equipment began to erode in third quarter 2008 with the worsening global recession. We're an export-intensive industry and the continuing decline is especially detrimental since we're also experiencing steep cuts in domestic business, said Al Cervero, AEM senior vice president.
The U.S government has been using various economic stimulus measures to jump-start the economy, but the package has fallen short for construction machinery manufacturers, Cervero said.
AEM urged Congress to pass free-trade agreements already completed and to leave NAFTA alone to encourage greater exports.