Greg Canfield

Last year was a record year for Alabama’s automotive industry.

Alabama Department of Commerce officials say exports of Alabama-made automobiles jumped 13 percent last year, climbing to $7.9 billion dollars. Total sales of state-made cars are estimated at around $20 billion.

Alabama-built cars were reportedly shipped to 86 countries last year. Germany was the largest export market, with more than $2.4 billion in shipments to there alone. Next on the list were China, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and India.

Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama will be among the states submitting a proposal next week to land the assembly plant for Boeing's new 777X aircraft.

Bentley says he will meet Thursday with the state's chief industrial recruiter, Greg Canfield, to work on the proposal.

Bentley and other officials met with Boeing executives two weeks ago to try to get the company to develop the plant in the Huntsville area.

Bentley says Boeing has had operations in Huntsville for more than 50 years, and already owns a large tract of land at the Huntsville airport.

State of Alabama

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's first day in Japan included a meeting with a trade official.

A spokesman for the governor said he talked with Hiroyuki Ishige, the chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization. The group works to promote trade and investment. Bentley gave him a pen crafted from a dogwood tree downed by the April 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials are traveling to Japan on a trade mission.

The governor's office says the delegation will depart Sunday for a five-day visit in hopes of bringing more jobs to the state and strengthening ties with Japanese companies already operating in Alabama.

In Japan the group will meet with executives from companies including Honda and Toyota, which have large factories that employ thousands in Alabama.

A trade mission led by the state with representatives from 10 companies will be heading to Canada next week.

The group will be heading to the Southeast U.S. Canada Province Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Alabama's Commerce Department Secretary Greg Canfield says Canada is already a top destination for Alabama products and the trip is designed to capitalize on those existing ties.

Canada was Alabama's top export destination last year with shipments valued at nearly $4 billion.