us export import
blog, Export & Import

US Exports and Imports

US Exports

Goods contribute 66%, or $1.7 trillion, to U.S. exports.2 One-third of exported goods are capital goods ($547 billion). The largest sub-category is commercial aircraft ($132 billion). Other capital goods include industrial machines ($57 billion), semiconductors ($50 billion), and telecommunications ($36 billion). Electric apparatus ($44 billion) and medical equipment ($38 billion) are also significant contributors.

Another third of exported goods is industrial supplies ($531 billion). The largest sub-category is petroleum products ($122 billion). Next are chemical products ($81 billion), fuel oil ($41 billion), and plastic ($37 billion). Non-monetary gold is $19 billion.

Only 12% of U.S. exported goods are consumer goods ($206 billion). The biggest categories are pharmaceutical preparations ($55 billion), cell phones ($27 billion), and gem diamonds ($20 billion). 

Automobiles contribute 10% of all exported goods. In 2019, that was $162 billion.

Just 8% of exported goods are foods, feeds, and beverages ($131 billion). The big three are soybeans ($20 billion), meat and poultry ($20 billion), and corn ($9 billion).

Services make up one-third of U.S. exports ($847 billion).3 The largest single category is travel services at $306 billion.

US Imports

More than 80% of U.S. imports are goods ($2.5 trillion).4 Capital goods ($678 billion) contribute 27% of all goods imported. That includes computers at $131 billion and telecommunications at $117 billion.

Next is consumer goods ($654 billion). The top two categories are cell phones/television at $132 billion and pharmaceuticals at $149 billion. Next is the apparel and footwear category at $130 billion. U.S consumer spending is dependent upon these low-cost imported goods.

Slightly less than a quarter of imports are industrial machinery and equipment ($522 billion). The largest sub-category is oil and petroleum products, at $191 billion.

The fourth-largest import category is automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($376 billion). The food and beverages category is the smallest at $151 billion. 

Services make up 19% of imports ($597 billion). The largest category is travel services at $262 billion. 

Since the United States imports more than it exports, its trade deficit is in billions.  The 2019 U.S. trade balance is negative, showing a deficit of $617 billion.