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Report: U.S. tech exports fall

Tech exports slipped to $166 billion in 2002, from 2000's historic high of $223 billion, a report says. And high-tech goods accounted for just 24 percent of total exports last year.

Exports of U.S. tech goods fell precipitously during the past two years, according to a report released Thursday.

The report, the AeA's Tech Trade Update 2003, said tech exports slipped to $166 billion in 2002, from 2000's historic high of $223 billion. What's more, high-tech goods accounted for just 24 percent of total U.S. exports in 2002, down from 29 percent in 2000. AeA, a high-tech trade group formerly known as the American Electronics Association, attributed the decline to economic downturns in Europe and in Japan and other parts of Asia, excluding China.

"The U.S. technology downturn has been exacerbated by the fact that many of the larger--and some not so large--high-tech companies obtain substantially more than 50 percent of their revenue from overseas sales," the report's authors wrote.

The European Union, Mexico, Canada and Japan accounted for most of the U.S. exports. U.S. companies sold $98 billion worth, or about 60 percent, of their goods to those regions in 2002. India, Costa Rica and China bucked the downturn trend, buying more goods than they had in years past.

In the last year, China also became the leading supplier of high-tech goods to the United States.

The report also said that U.S. high-tech imports dropped by 19 percent, to $220 billion, in 2002, from $271 billion in 2000. The bulk of imports in 2002, $77 billion dollars' worth, were computers and office equipment. The U.S. exported fewer computers than it imported, making for a $37 billion deficit.