Foreign sales of U.S.-made construction equipment dropped sharply in 2013, snapping a three-year export surge that had been one of the bright spots in the country’s halting economic recovery, according to a report released on Wednesday by a leading industry trade group.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers said foreign sales of U.S.-made bulldozers, excavators, aerial work platforms and other big machines used by builders and miners fell 25 percent last year, pulled down by an especially acute decline in demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S.-based manufacturers of those products, including Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co., Terex Corp and Oshkosh Corp, sold $20 billion of their goods overseas in 2013, down from $25 billion in 2012, the AEM said.

Sales in every region of the world declined last year. But the drop-off was especially sharp in the Asia-Pacific region. AEM said sales to the Australia/Oceania region tumbled 66 percent while sales in Asia fell 33 percent.

Exports to Canada, the No. 1 market for U.S. made construction equipment, fell 16 percent last year, the AEM said.

After plummeting 38 percent in 2009, during the darkest days of the worldwide economic downturn, exports of U.S.-made construction went on a three-year tear, rising 28 percent in 2010, 43 percent in 2011 and 13 percent in 2012, the AEM said. (Reuters)