The Baltimore region showed nearly double-digit growth in export goods and services in 2010, with room to grow, according to a study released Thursday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based public policy organization.

The report, titled "Export Nation," reviewed data collected from the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. Baltimore was ranked 27th, with exports valued at $9.7 billion.

U.S. exports, led by manufacturing, grew faster than at any time since 1997, said Emilia Istrate, the study's lead author.

Manufactured goods accounted for 53.4 percent of Baltimore's exports, with chemicals, computers and electronics topping the list, the study showed. Business services and travel and tourism led the list for exported services.

"These numbers are significant," Istrate said, adding that Baltimore's exports translated into 40,000 direct jobs and 67,600 export-supported positions with suppliers, transportation firms and wholesalers.

"Exporting is not just an abstract number," she said.

Research and development constituted one-quarter of Baltimore's services exports. The top three buyers — Ireland, Switzerland and Japan — together purchased services valued at $157.5 million.

"This is business that can be tapped into for years to come," Istrate said. "This is heartening that Baltimore has a mix of exports with high growth potential."

The study showed that while the country has a $15 trillion economy that leads the world, fewer than 1 percent of U.S. companies export goods and services, and most of those exports go to a single market.

Exports have been on Gov. Martin O'Malley's radar.

O'Malley was scheduled to join business leaders Wednesday night to announce that Maryland's trade exports climbed 7 percent in 2011 to $10.8 billion, showing a return to pre-recession levels. The state's export high, in 2008, was $11.4 billion.

Late last year, O'Malley led a trade mission to India and returned with nine deals worth nearly $60 million, ranging from medical and Web-based projects to engineering and medical endeavors. Trips to Brazil and Africa are being discussed, and representatives of India's business community are scheduled to visit Maryland next month.

Maryland's trade with China and India increased last year, with exports to China rising by $93 million and exports to India increasing by $20 million, according to the state.

On top of the list of commodities exported from Maryland last year were non-railway vehicles.

O'Malley was also to give an update on the two-year-old Maryland Export Initiative, which helps small businesses increase their exports, generate jobs and target global trade opportunities.

Istrate said the state's efforts were crucial to finding new clients and partners.

"You have to go where the clients are. One of the main things holding companies back is a fear of the unknown," she said. "Companies need help taking that first step, and trade missions are an integral part of that."

The Baltimore region's biggest losses, by value, from 2009 to 2010 were in financial and insurance services, the study showed. The service declines were most likely due to the sluggish economy, Istrate said.

The Port of Baltimore is ranked 12th nationally in traffic and fourth on the East Coast, behind New York; Norfolk, Va.; and Philadelphia.