South Florida’s trade with the world fell below $80 billion in 2009, one year after topping $90 billion for the first time, according to WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census data released today (Feb. 10).

Nevertheless, Miami climbed two positions to finish 2009 as the nation’s No. 11-ranked Customs district since its import-export decline was less severe than Cleveland and Philadelphia, both of which it passed.

South Florida’s total trade was $79.15 billion, down 12.3 percent from the $90.25 billion total registered in 2008, before the global economic crisis. The 12.3 percent decrease in overall trade compares favorably to the U.S. average, which fell 22.89 percent.

The Miami Customs district encompasses all of South Florida, from Palm Beach County in the north to the Florida Keys in the south. Miami International Airport and the ports of Miami, Everglades and Palm Beach are the leading drivers of the import-export activity in the Customs district.

South Florida’s trade surplus set a new U.S. record, at $19.83 billion. Miami is the only Customs district to have had a continuous trade surplus for more than 15 years and one of the few to register one at all.

South Florida exports fell to $49.49 billion, just shy of $50 billion, one year after eclipsing that mark for the first time. The 9.82 percent decline in exports was less than the 16.14 percent drop registered by imports. Imports finished 2009 at $29.66 billion, the first year imports have finished below $30 billion since 2004.

Overall U.S. trade finished at $2.61 trillion, the lowest level since 2005. U.S. exports stayed above $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year while imports, which totaled $1.56 trillion, fell to a level not seen since 2004. The U.S. trade deficit ended 2009 at $500.94 billion, the lowest level since 2002.

In South Florida, Brazil remained the overwhelming No. 1 trade partner and Colombia finished at No. 2, one spot ahead of the second-ranked trade partner from the previous year, Venezuela, which finished No. 3. China and the Dominican Republic finished in the fourth and fifth positions, respectively, for the second consecutive year while Switzerland jumped to No. 6 from No. 12, its highest finish ever. Costa Rica and Chile were Nos. 7 and 8 again; Honduras, plagued by political unrest slipped three positions to No. 9 and Mexico jumped eight positions to round out the Top 10.

Peru and Argentina fell out of the Top 10 in 2009. All told, 23 nations finished 2009 with more than $1 billion in trade with South Florida. The previous Bill Dollar Club mark was 26, set in 2008.

Updates to follow.