January 9, 2020
News Release 20-001
Inv. No(s). 332-345
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2018

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2018 (2018 Trade Shifts) is now available on the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) internet site.

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan factfinding federal agency, produces its web-based comprehensive review of U.S. trade performance annually.

2018 Trade Shifts includes interactive features, such as graphics that allow users to view and refine, as they choose, the official government data presented. The report:

  • highlights changes in U.S. exports and imports of agricultural and manufactured goods, as well as key natural resources, providing industry and market profiles and trade data for 10 sectors; and

  • includes a special topic section, "Section 232 and 301 Trade Actions in 2018," which describes the trade actions taken by the United States under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and sections 301-310 of the Trade Act of 1974, and the foreign responses to the U.S. actions under these authorities of the law. 

    This section presents data on the shifts in 2018 U.S. trade for products covered by those two authorities, broken down by trading partners, as well as additional duties imposed in response by seven trading partners (China, Canada, Mexico, the EU, Russia, Turkey, and India).

Highlights from the 2018 Trade Shifts report include:

  • In 2018, U.S. total exports and general imports both increased, with general imports increasing at a higher rate, reaching their highest levels since 2014.

  • Energy-related products exhibited the largest increase in U.S. total exports, mostly due a large increase in average prices for some energy-related products. The largest increase in U.S. imports, by value, occurred in the chemicals and related products sector.

  • China, Canada, and Mexico continued to be the major U.S. trading partners in 2018. China continued to be the main supplier for U.S. imports of merchandise and was the third largest destination for U.S. exports, by value. The largest destinations for U.S. exports, however, were Canada and Mexico. Combined, U.S. exports to these two countries accounted for one-third of all U.S. exports of merchandise in 2018.

  • The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with the rest of the world grew by $83.0 billion (10 percent) to $878.7 billion in 2018, surpassing the deficit increase of 2017 and reaching the highest level and the highest yearly growth seen during the period 2014-18.

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2018 can be accessed at https://www.usitc.gov/research_and_analysis/trade_shifts_2018/index.htm.

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