Iowa's factory exports increased 13.1% to $5.2 billion in 1997, its 11th successive year of increase, reports the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED). While the state's exports to Japan have decreased 21%, diversification to other countries such as Australia, 47.2%; and the Netherlands, 29.3%, has offset that decrease, explains David Lyons, director of the IDED. Exports from Iowa plants have increased nearly 234% since 1987.
In other IDED news, the department approved a $60,000 Community Economic Betterment Account investment for Davenport, Iowa-based Solar Plastics Inc., to be put toward a $4 million factory expansion. The expansion will add 40,000 sq ft, new equipment, and 30 new jobs over the next three years. Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. and Optimum Quality Grains LLC will also be expanding their facilities, for which the IDED approved future tax breaks under the New Jobs and Income Program. The companies now qualify for property tax exemptions at the local and state levels, as well as sales tax refunds on construction services and increased job-training funds.