The latest report from the Minnesota Trade Office shows that the state's companies exported a record nearly $21 billion in products last year.
But the annual pace of growth slowed considerably compared to the year before.
Japan lost its ranking as Minnesota's third-largest export market, falling down a notch to fourth place. State officials attribute the change to a decrease in corn exports to Japan. Mexico moved up, becoming Minnesota's third-largest export market abroad in 2012.
Some of the strongest growth last year occurred in exports to Central and South America. Minnesota companies' sales of machinery and medical instruments to Brazil were especially robust.
But the annual growth rate inched up just 1 percent. In 2011, the rate of growth was 7 percent.
"Growth was a little bit slow. We need to make sure we're increasing the pace of growth, "said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the state's Trade Office.