The Association of Equipment Manufacturers Exports reported on Wednesday that exports of U.S.-made construction equipment increased 13% in 2012 compared to the previous year for a total $26.7 billion, with South America and Asia reporting the weakest gains.

This gain was much smaller however than the 43% gain from 2011 to 2012.

In 2010 the gain was 38%, following a 2009 decline of 38% in the depths of the recession.

"Exports have been called a bright spot for the U.S. economy, and this has been especially true for construction equipment manufacturers," said Al Cervero, AEM vice president and construction sector leader.

Cervero pointed out that with ”global slowing and continued domestic market uncertainties, it's more important than ever for our lawmakers to enact job-creating export and manufacturing policies."

U.S. construction equipment exports to Asia grew 2% compared to the previous year for a total $3.2 billion.

Exports to South America increased 6% to total $4.6 billion.

Central America's purchases of U.S. construction equipment gained 13% for a total $2.3 billion; exports to Europe also grew 13%, and totaled $3.2 billion; and exports to Africa increased 14% to $1.5 billion.

Exports of U.S. construction machinery to Canada gained 12% for a total $8.1 billion, and exports to Australia/Oceania jumped 42% to total $3.9 billion.

The top 10 export destinations for American-made construction machinery in 2012 by dollar volume:

  1. Canada - $8.1 billion, up 12%
  2. Australia - $3.8 billion, up 43%
  3. Mexico - $1.8 billion, up 13%
  4. Chile - $1.7 billion, up 25%
  5. South Africa - $894 million, up 31%
  6. Brazil - $886 million, down 7%
  7. Belgium - $806 million, up 43%
  8. Peru - $779 million, up 36%
  9. Russia - $715 million, up 10%
  10. China - $680 million, down 25%