Hawaii is the only state in the United States that is made up completely of islands. It originally became a state in August 21st of 1959. Due to its remote location off the southern coast of California in the Pacific Ocean, the prices for consumer products are much higher than other places in the country. The fact is, many items have to be imported, which works to drive the cost up of various items even more.
Referred to as the “Aloha State,” Hawaii was first home to Polynesians approximately 1500 years in the past. Later, Tahitian settlers came to the islands and created a social system that was based on kapu, which actually translates to taboo. In 1778, Captain James Cook landed in the Hawaiian islands and brought a number of western ideas and thoughts to these Oceania islands. In 1820, 42 years later, a number of Protestant missionaries arrived in Hawaii and begin to establish various societal standards, which quickly replaced the Tahitian kapu (taboo) system. At this point, Hawaii was established as an active seaport and it catered to whalers and traders, which helped to solidify the future of the state as an exporter and importer of goods. At the time when Hawaii actually became a territory of the U.S. in 1898, some of the main exports included fresh fruits and sugar; however, sugar is not included as a top export in Hawaii. Also, the only fresh fruit that Hawaii is exporting in big numbers are papayas.
The largest imported items to Hawaii include petroleum oil and crude oil. In fact, in 2013, the total estimated value of these imports was around $3 billion. However, that is not all that Hawaii imports. It also brings in propane, precious metals, jewelry, semiconductors, coal, passenger vehicles and aircraft. The main exports of the state of Hawaii include parts for aircrafts, exotic fruit, petroleum and light oils, fresh shrimp, ferrous scrap, cocoa preparation, aluminum scrap and waste, drawings, paintings and stainless steel scrap.
There is a common misconception that Hawaii exports all things “tropics,” for example, coconuts and other exotic fruit. However, this is simply not the case. In fact, the state offers much more than just the tropical items that it is so well-known and loved for. The evolution of this state is diverse and as a result there are a number of products and goods that are unique to this area. However, due to its location, it costs more to import and export here. This is why there are many things that are sourced elsewhere, besides Hawaii.
Taking some time to get to know about the history of Hawaii, will help you understand why the state imports and exports the items it does. Being informed and educated can help you better understand about this unique state and what it has to offer.