Skip to Navigation to Main Content :: Chemicals and Related Products

View Section in Publication :: Return to Overview

Key Economic Trends

  • In 2009, the value of the U.S. trade deficit in chemicals and related products decreased by $17.1 billion to $16.6 billion. The volume of trade also decreased because world demand for consumer products made from chemicals and related products declined significantly in response to the global economic downturn. The decline in demand for chemical products used for industrial purposes was the most significant factor negatively affecting the global chemical industry in 2009.
  • U.S. exports of chemicals decreased by $23.8 billion (13 percent) to $165.9 billion in 2009, largely because of decreased foreign demand related to the global economic slowdown. U.S. exports began to rebound, however, as demand for chemical products used in construction began improving in certain markets during the third quarter of 2009. U.S. exports of fertilizers decreased in 2009 by $3.5 billion to $3.7 billion in 2009 and returned to the levels recorded during 200507; U.S. exports of primary petrochemicals decreased by $378 million to $1.4 billion.
  • The only significant increase in sector exports during 2009 was in medicinal chemicals, which increased by about $4.2 billion. A major share of this increase in U.S. medicinal chemical exports was likely the result of related-party transfers of products, such as monoclonal antibodies, a relatively new class of therapeutics increasingly being used in the European Union.
  • In 2009, U.S. imports of chemicals and related products decreased by $41.0 billion (18 percent) to $182.5 billion. This decline was driven largely by reduced demand for chemical inputs for consumer products and weaker demand in the industrial sector owing to the economic recession. Canada, the largest supplier of fertilizers, and Ireland, the largest supplier of medicinal chemicals, together accounted for 25 percent of total chemical imports in 2009.

Trade Shifts from 2008 to 2009

  • U.S. trade deficit: Decreased by $17.1 billion (51 percent) to $16.6 billion
  • U.S. exports: Decreased by $23.8 billion (13 percent) to $165.9 billion
  • U.S. imports: Decreased by $41.0 billion (18 percent) to $182.5 billion

Selected Product Shifts

USITC Publications

Industrial Biotechnology in China Amidst Changing Market Conditions, Journal of International Commerce and Economics, February 2009

Industrial Biotechnology: Development and Adoption by the U.S. Chemical and Biofuel Industries (Investigation No. 332481), July 2009.

Other Government Resources

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistcis Service.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of the Chief Economist, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC), Census Bureau.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Other Resources

American Chemistry Council

Chemical & Engineering News

Green Markets Fertilizer Market Intelligence Weekly

International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), Paris, France

The Fertilizer Institute, Washington, DC

Rubber Manufacturers Association