Machinery

Author: Andrew David
Senior International Trade Analyst

Change in 2014 from 2013:

  To view changing data, mouseover the graphic below.
  • U.S. total exports: Increased by $5.9 billion (4 percent) to $145.5 billion
  • U.S. general imports: Increased by $14.5 billion (9 percent) to $184.7 billion

U.S. total exports of machinery rose by $5.9 billion (4 percent) in 2014, with some of the largest product-group increases driven by higher global investment in semiconductor manufacturing and by oil and gas industry spending on taps, cocks, and valves. The export markets that accounted for the largest increases in exports were Mexico (up $1.7 billion, or 10 percent), South Korea (up $919 million, or 16 percent), and China (up $506 million, or 6 percent) (table MT.1).

Table MT.1: Machinery: U.S. exports and general imports, by selected trading partners, 2010–14
 
Million $
 
           
Absolute change,
Percent change,
Item
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2013-14
2013-14
U.S. exports of domestic exports merchandise:              
China 7,905 8,980 8,533 9,089 9,595 506 5.6
Mexico 11,661 13,440 15,492 16,480 18,146 1,666 10.1
Canada 20,449 23,168 25,093 24,811 25,562 751 3
Japan 2,995 3,478 3,068 3,409 3,832 423 12.4
Germany 3,730 4,225 4,031 3,994 3,877 -117 -2.9
South Korea 5,660 5,516 5,639 5,603 6,522 919 16.4
Taiwan 5,857 4,532 4,602 4,694 4,284 -409 -8.7
Italy 977 1,068 1,012 1,088 1,046 -42 -3.9
United Kingdom 2,759 2,901 2,956 3,051 3,649 598 19.6
Netherlands 1,752 1,841 1,874 1,912 2,155 243 12.7
All other 40,730 46,386 50,253 48,325 48,306 -19 (a)
Total domestic exports 104,474 115,535 122,554 122,456 126,974 4,518 3.7
Re-exports 12,962 14,785 15,977 17,180 18,552 1,371 8
Total U.S. exports (domestic exports and re-exports) 117,436 130,321 138,530 139,636 145,526 5,890 4.2
U.S. general imports:              
China 32,552 36,783 41,031 44,346 48,024 3,677 8.3
Mexico 20,566 23,180 25,328 26,358 28,927 2,569 9.7
Canada 10,906 12,585 13,374 13,589 13,659 70 0.5
Japan 15,324 19,388 20,832 18,908 18,749 -159 -0.8
Germany 12,216 15,389 15,905 16,540 17,729 1,190 7.2
South Korea 5,717 6,443 6,892 6,635 7,101 467 7
Taiwan 2,838 3,519 3,951 4,006 4,366 360 9
Italy 4,401 5,876 6,100 6,313 7,144 831 13.2
United Kingdom 3,030 3,710 3,993 3,993 4,217 224 5.6
Netherlands 2,193 3,554 2,962 2,405 4,270 1,864 77.5
All other 21,309 25,696 27,416 27,120 30,515 3,394 12.5
Total general imports 131,051 156,123 167,784 170,212 184,701 14,488 8.5
Source: Compiled from official statistics of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the 2010–14 period. These reflect all official revisions of previously published data up to June 2014 (accessed April 21, 2015).
Note: Import values are based on Customs value; export values are based on free along ship value, U.S. port of export. Calculations based on unrounded data. The trading partners shown are those with the largest total U.S. trade (U.S. general imports plus U.S. domestic exports) in these products in the current year. Re-exports (also called foreign exports) are further defined in the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) and in the “Trade Metrics” discussion.
a Less than 0.05 percent

U.S. general imports increased by $14.5 billion (9 percent) in 2014, with import growth spread broadly across product types—in fact, imports increased in 23 of 30 machinery product groups. Import growth reflected growing demand fostered by increases in U.S. consumer spending, business investment, and residential and nonresidential construction. The countries that accounted for the greatest increase in imports, in value terms, were China (up by $3.7 billion, or 8 percent), Mexico (up by $2.6 billion, or 10 percent), and Germany ($1.2 billion, or 7 percent).

U.S. Exports1

U.S. domestic exports of machinery substantially increased across a number of product groups, including semiconductor manufacturing equipment (up $1.4 billion, or 10 percent), mechanical power transmission equipment ($1.3 billion, or 45 percent), and taps, cocks, valves, and similar devices ($938 million, or 9 percent) (table MT.2). The largest decline was in U.S. exports of farm and garden machinery and equipment ($933 million, or 8 percent).

Table MT.2: Machinery: Leading changes in U.S. domestic exports and general imports, 2010–14
 
Million $
 
           
Absolute change,
Percent change,
Item
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2013-14
2013-14
U.S. domestic exports:              
Increases:              
Semiconductor manufacturing equipment (MT019A) 16,139 14,212 13,118 13,133 14,539 1,407 10.7
Mechanical power transmission equipment (MT021) 2,182 2,748 3,065 2,980 4,326 1,346 45.2
Taps, cocks, valves, and similar devices (MT020) 7,093 8,495 9,099 10,276 11,214 938 9.1
Decreases:              
Farm and garden machinery and equipment (MT009) 8,672 11,242 13,145 11,654 10,721 -933 -8
All other 70,388 78,837 84,127 84,413 86,174 1,761 2.1
Total 104,474 115,535 122,554 122,456 126,974 4,518 3.7
U.S. general imports:              
Increases:              
Semiconductor manufacturing equipment (MT019A) 8,801 13,286 12,205 10,935 13,357 2,422 22.1
Air-conditioning equipment and parts (MT002) 10,657 12,840 14,106 15,027 16,781 1,754 11.7
Household appliances, including commercial applications (MT004) 19,685 20,479 21,503 22,618 24,224 1,606 7.1
Decreases:              
Electric lamps (bulbs) and portable electric lights (MT027) 2,706 2,818 2,991 3,185 3,000 -186 -5.8
All other 89,202 106,701 116,979 118,447 127,339 8,892 7.5
Total 131,051 156,123 167,784 170,212 184,701 14,488 8.5
Source: Compiled from official statistics of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the 2010–14 period. These reflect all official revisions of previously published data up to June 2014 (accessed March 27, 2015).
Note: Import values are based on Customs value; export values are based on free along ship value, U.S. port of export. Calculations based on unrounded data

U.S. domestic exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment grew significantly in 2014, with South Korea, China, and Ireland accounting for the largest increases in U.S. exports. The increase in exports was driven by rising global demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which was projected to grow by 19 percent in 2014 as major manufacturers made significant investments in their plants.2 For example, equipment spending in South Korea rose as Samsung and SK Hynix made major investments, and demand rose in China as companies like Samsung, SK Hynix, and SMIC upgraded and expanded their production.3 Intel, meanwhile, invested in its production in Ireland.4

U.S. domestic exports of taps, cocks, valves, and similar devices expanded in 2014 because of rising demand from the oil and gas industry. These products are often used in oil and gas refining and pipeline applications, which contributed to the steady increase in exports from 2010 onward. Despite the decline in crude petroleum prices starting in June 2014, several valve manufacturers have stated that their order books were not significantly affected in 2014 and that they will be more likely to feel the impact in 2015.5

In the farm and garden machinery product group, U.S. domestic exports declined because of weaker global demand and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Global demand for farm equipment weakened because of a fall in commodity prices and incomes.6 The biggest decline in U.S. exports was to Canada, and the biggest component of this decline was lower exports of combines, which fell because of a substantial drop in Canadian combine sales. The value of tractor exports to Canada also declined substantially, but the number of units exported increased despite lower commodity prices because of higher demand for small tractors.7 The United States remained the leading foreign supplier of combines and tractors to Canada.8

U.S. Imports

U.S. imports of machinery rose by $14.5 billion (9 percent) in 2014, driven by increases in U.S. consumer spending, business investment, and residential housing construction.9 Overall U.S. demand for machinery grew by 9 percent, roughly the same pace at which imports expanded.10 The largest increases were in U.S. imports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment (up by $2.4 billion, or 22 percent), air conditioning equipment and parts ($1.8 billion, or 12 percent), and household appliances ($1.6 billion, or 7 percent).

The increase in imports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, like the increase in exports, is due to growth in U.S. investment by some of the major U.S. manufacturers. The North American semiconductor equipment market was expected to reach $8.31 billion in 2014, up from $5.27 billion in 2013.11

A rise in U.S. residential and nonresidential construction and home improvement investment contributed to the significant increase in U.S. imports of air conditioning equipment and household appliances. U.S. residential housing starts grew 8 percent in 2014; investment in private nonresidential construction, by 11 percent.12 Further, the strengthening of the U.S. dollar made imported appliances less expensive and further strengthened demand.13 For air conditioner equipment, 52 percent of import growth came from Mexico (up by $917 million), which surpassed China as the United States’ largest source for imports of air conditioning equipment and parts for the first time since 2002. For appliances, the increase in 2014 was spread across a number of products, including coffee and tea makers (up by $245 million), assorted refrigerating or freezing equipment (up by $221 million), and electric space heaters and soil heaters (up by $173 million).14

Imports of air conditioning equipment and household appliances grew from both China (up by $861 million) and Mexico (up by $559 million). Imports from South Korea, however, fell by $330 million, due in part to intensifying price competition; the South Korean won remained strong against the dollar, while the currencies of many other exporters in Asia and Europe fell. In addition, imports of certain residential washing machines from South Korea and Mexico are subject to antidumping and countervailing duties.15

The largest decrease in U.S. imports was in imports of electric lamps (bulbs) and portable electric lights (down $186 million, 6 percent), reflecting a shift in the U.S. lighting market toward more energy-efficient lighting. One important factor in the shift was the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which prohibited the import or manufacture of many traditional incandescent lamps (100 watts, starting January 1, 2012; 75 watts, starting January 1, 2013; and 40 and 60 watts, starting January 1, 2014). Another factor was the increasing availability and cost-competitiveness of energy-efficient lighting technologies. Both of these changes led to a substantial shift away from traditional incandescent lamps to more efficient halogen incandescent lamps and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.16 The decline in imports of traditional incandescent bulbs was especially significant with the implementation of rules phasing out 40- and 60-watt lamps in 2014. LEDs are classified in a different product group, and therefore the shift toward more energy-efficient lighting resulted in a decrease in imports in the electric lamps commodity group.17


1 As appropriate, this section will address total exports, domestic exports, and re-exports.
2 SEMI, “Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast,” December 2, 2014.
3 SEMI, “Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast,” December 2, 2014; Dieseldorff, “Solid Years,” December 8, 2014.
4 Dieseldorff, “Solid Years,” December 8, 2014.
5 Hall, “Why MRC Global Inc.,” February 20, 2015; ShareCast, “Rotork Record Results Outweigh Oil Worries,” March 3, 2015; Powley, “Weir under Pressure from Low Oil Price,” February 25, 2015.
6 Tita, “Deere Hurt by Weak Farm-Equipment Demand,” February 20, 2015; Tita, “Deere Projects Sharp Decline in Farm-Equipment Sales,” November 26, 2014; AEM, “U.S. Agricultural Equipment,” February 25, 2015.
7 Agrievolution Alliance, 2014 Global Tractor Market Report, n.d. (accessed February 25, 2015); USITC DataWeb/USDOC (for HTS subheadings 8701.30 to 8701.90; accessed January 25, 2015).
8 GTIS, Global Trade Atlas database (for HTS subheadings 8433.51, 8701.30, and 8701.90; accessed February 25, 2015).
9 USDOC, BEA, “Gross Domestic Product,” January 30, 2015; USDOC, Census, “New Residential Construction in January 2015,” February 18, 2015, table 3.
10 Based on apparent U.S. consumption for machinery in North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) 333, which may include a slightly different mix of products than those classified in the machinery commodity groups used by the Commission. USITC DataWeb/USDOC (for commodity groups MT001–MT031; accessed January 25, 2015); USDOC, Census, “Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments,” January 27, 2015.
11 SEMI, “Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast,” December 2, 2014.
12 New privately owned housing units started. USDOC, Census, “New Residential Construction in January 2015,” February 18, 2015, table 3; Seeking Alpha, “Nortek’s (NTK) CEO Michael Clarke,” March 3, 2015; USDOC, Census, “Value of Construction Put in Place at a Glance,” January 2015.
13 IBISWorld, Major Household Appliance Manufacturing in the U.S., November 2014, 18.
14 USITC DataWeb/USDOC (for HTS subheadings 8516.71, 8418.69, and 8516.29; accessed March 5 and 9, 2015).
13 USITC, Certain Large Residential Washers from Korea and Mexico, February 2013, 1; USITC DataWeb/USDOC (for HTS statistical reporting number 8450.20.0090; accessed March 5 and 9, 2015); Yoo, “South Korean Exports,” January 26, 2015; Rosenthal, “South Korea Cuts Prices amid Currency War,” February 10, 2015.
16 Imports of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have been relatively unaffected by the new rules. USITC DataWeb/USDOC (for HTS statistical reporting numbers 8539.31.0050 and 8539.31.0060; accessed January 25, 2015); Bulbs.com website, http://www.bulbs.com/learning/phaseoutschedule.aspx (accessed February 25, 2015).
17 China is the leading source of LED lamp imports. USITC DataWeb/USDOC (for HTS statistical reporting number 8543.70.7000; accessed January 25, 2015).