We certainly live in an international economy. North Carolinians sell products and services to foreign buyers, and at the same time we purchase products and services from foreign sellers. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden takes a look at what we buy from other countries — in other words, our imports.
“Well … we now have total data for 2011, and probably not as a surprise to most of our listeners, China tops the list. In terms of countries that we buy products from, China was number one in 2011. We bought $9 billion worth of products in North Carolina from China. Secondly, was Mexico.
“We bought $5 billion worth of products from Mexico. Then followed Canada and Germany each; we bought from each $3 billion worth.
“And then perhaps surprising to some people, Ireland was on the top five list. We bought just under $3 billion worth of products from Ireland here in North Carolina.
“Now there are a couple caveats to these numbers, however. The numbers do not include oil, and that’s because we don’t directly buy oil. Oil goes to refineries and then is processed into gasoline. So if we were able to track that back, probably countries like Saudi Arabia would be much higher on that list.
“And also to put these numbers in perspective, I mentioned numbers like 9 billion, 5 billion, et cetera. The total income earned by all households and businesses in North Carolina in 2011 was $400 billion.”