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Key Economic Trends

  • U.S. trade in most minerals and metals decreased in 2009, as the demand from key downstream consuming industries— construction (e.g., for steel and cement), durable goods manufacturing (e.g., for most minerals and metals), and consumer spending (e.g., for gemstones) — was reduced by the economic conditions both at home and abroad. Softening global prices for raw materials and semi-manufactured forms of many minerals and metals further lowered U.S. trade values).
  • The U.S. trade deficit for minerals and metals declined in 2009, most notably for steel mill products, natural and synthetic gemstones, ferroalloys, copper and related articles, and primary iron products. The United States also recorded reduced trade surpluses for iron and steel waste and scrap, and precious metals and non-numismatic coins.
  • Among U.S. trade partners, the deficit narrowed most noticeably with China (for steel mill products), the EU-27 (for steel mill products, precious metals and non-numismatic coins, and natural and synthetic gemstones), and Canada (unwrought aluminum and copper and related articles). By contrast, the greatest expansion of the deficit was with Switzerland, due to lower U.S. exports of precious metals and non-numismatic coins.

Trade Shifts from 2008 to 2009

  • U.S. trade deficit: Decreased by $32.6 billion (50 percent) to $32.7 billion
  • U.S. exports: Decreased by $35.4 billion (30 percent) to $84.4 billion
  • U.S. imports: Decreased by $68.0 billion (37 percent) to $117.0 billion

Selected Product Shifts

USITC Publications

Unrought Aluminum: Industry and Trade Summary, USITC Pub. ITS-06, March 2010.

"Certain Gold Necklaces and Chains," Advice on Providing Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2009 Review of Additions and Removals, Inv. No. 332-507, USITC Pub. No. 4126, March 2010, pp. 5-1 to 5-9.

"Aluminum Conductor Steel-reinforced Cable and Wire," Advice on Providing Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2009 Review of Additions and Removals, Inv. No. 332-507, USITC Pub. No. 4126, March 2010, pp. 4-1 to 4-6.

"Certain Unwrought Aluminum, in Coils," Advice on Providing Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2008 Review, Inv. No. 332-493, Publ. No. 3982, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Industries, Washington, DC, January 2008, pp. 4-1 to 4-4.

"Hollow Profiles, of Aluminum Alloys," Advice on Providing Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2008 Review, Inv. No. 332-493, Publ. No. 3982, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Industries, Washington, DC, January 2008, pp. 5-1 to 5-4.

"Manganese Metal Powder," Advice on Providing Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2008 Review, Inv. No. 332-493, Publ. No. 3982, U.S. International Trade Commission, Office of Industries, Washington, DC, January 2008, pp. 6-1 to 6-4.

Other Resources

American Iron and Steel Institute.

Metals Division, Office of Materials and Machinery, Manufacturing and Services Unit, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

U.S. Geological Survey, Commodity Statistics and Information.

World Steel Association.