U.S. Trade by Industry, Sector, and Selected Trading Partners

Author: Cathy Jabara
Senior Economist

U.S. Exports

In 2014, U.S. exports grew by $43.9 billion (3 percent) to $1,623.4 billion, as exports in 9 of the 10 sectors reviewed in 2014 Trade Shifts increased (table US.2 and figure US.1). The transportation equipment sector recorded the greatest absolute increase in exports ($13.5 billion). Strong global demand for motor vehicles and for aircraft, spacecraft, and related equipment contributed to the growth in U.S. exports in this sector (table US.3). Minerals and metals was the only sector to record a decrease in the value of exports in 2014 (down $8.5 billion, or 5 percent). The decline in exports is attributed to lower prices for precious metals and decreased processed-mineral exports because of weak global economic growth and the increase in the value of the U.S. dollar in the last part of 2014.1

Table US.2: U.S. total exports, general imports, and merchandise trade balance, by major industry/commodity sectors, 2010–14
 
Million $
 
           
Absolute change,
Percent change,
Item
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2013-14
2013-14
U.S. total exports:
             
Agricultural products
125,498 150,461 154,130 157,655 164,848 7,192 4.6
Forest products
37,699 40,849 39,832 40,835 41,280 445 1.1
Chemicals and related products
207,025 225,308 228,914 231,276 234,687 3,411 1.5
Energy-related products
87,109 137,176 143,356 154,575 162,553 7,977 5.2
Textiles and apparel
19,716 22,372 22,472 23,324 23,916 592 2.5
Footwear
1,105 1,290 1,332 1,391 1,449 58 4.2
Minerals and metals
128,405 165,012 164,013 161,636 153,122 -8,515 -5.3
Machinery
117,436 130,321 138,530 139,636 145,526 5,890 4.2
Transportation equipment
241,259 280,064 313,445 322,112 335,629 13,516 4.2
Electronic products
237,192 251,669 257,690 261,223 267,573 6,350 2.4
Miscellaneous manufactures
35,676 38,608 41,354 43,813 47,946 4,133 9.4
Special provisions
40,374 39,378 40,635 42,116 44,916 2,800 6.6
Total
1,278,495 1,482,508 1,545,703 1,579,593 1,623,443 43,850 2.8
U.S. general imports:
             
Agricultural products
98,218 116,374 123,323 126,678 136,184 9,506 7.5
Forest products
35,775 36,274 37,071 39,996 42,092 2,096 5.2
Chemicals and related products
205,093 237,927 237,262 236,704 251,615 14,911 6.3
Energy-related products
360,138 458,764 428,235 384,153 349,955 -34,198 -8.9
Textiles and apparel
104,504 113,848 113,866 118,019 121,684 3,665 3.1
Footwear
20,903 22,654 23,887 24,810 26,014 1,203 4.8
Minerals and metals
157,246 193,651 195,080 190,435 205,082 14,648 7.7
Machinery
131,051 156,123 167,784 170,212 184,701 14,488 8.5
Transportation equipment
269,017 309,994 363,318 375,445 403,018 27,572 7.3
Electronic products
378,626 402,543 415,476 421,672 438,167 16,495 3.9
Miscellaneous manufactures
97,659 99,878 104,751 109,931 114,314 4,383 4
Special provisions
55,626 59,924 66,250 70,265 72,362 2,097 3
Total
1,913,857 2,207,954 2,276,302 2,268,321 2,345,187 76,866 3.4
U.S. merchandise trade balance:
             
Agricultural products
27,280 34,087 30,807 30,978 28,664 -2,314 -7.5
Forest products
1,924 4,575 2,761 839 -812 -1,651 (a)
Chemicals and related products
1,932 -12,619 -8,348 -5,429 -16,928 -11,499 -211.8
Energy-related products
-273,029 -321,588 -284,878 -229,577 -187,402 42,175 18.4
Textiles and apparel
-84,788 -91,475 -91,394 -94,696 -97,768 -3,073 -3.2
Footwear
-19,797 -21,364 -22,555 -23,419 -24,564 -1,145 -4.9
Minerals and metals
-28,841 -28,640 -31,068 -28,798 -51,961 -23,162 -80.4
Machinery
-13,615 -25,803 -29,253 -30,576 -39,175 -8,599 -28.1
Transportation equipment
-27,757 -29,930 -49,873 -53,333 -67,389 -14,056 -26.4
Electronic products
-141,434 -150,874 -157,786 -160,449 -170,594 -10,145 -6.3
Miscellaneous manufactures
-61,983 -61,270 -63,397 -66,118 -66,368 -250 -0.4
Special provisions
-15,253 -20,546 -25,615 -28,149 -27,446 703 2.5
Total
-635,362 -725,447 -730,599 -688,728 -721,744 -33,016 -4.8
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 31, 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. Sectors are ordered by the level of processing of the products.
Figure US.1: U.S. total exports, general imports, and merchandise trade balance, 2010–14
This bar chart shows the dollar values (in billions of dollars) of total U.S. exports, total imports, and the trade balance from 2010 to 2014.  The trade balance is the difference between exports and imports.  Imports exceed exports and the trade balance is negative for all the years in the chart.
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 February 20, 2015). See table US.2.
Table US.3: All merchandise sectors: Leading changes in U.S. exports and imports, 2010–14
 
Million $
 
           
Absolute change,
Percent change,
Item
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2013-14
2013-14
U.S. total exports:
             
Increases:
             
Transportation equipment:
             
Aircraft, spacecraft, and related equipment (TE013)
79,541 87,671 103,742 113,872 123,805 9,933 8.7
Motor vehicles (TE009)
52,749 63,983 70,432 74,023 77,692 3,669 5
Energy-related products:
             
Crude petroleum (EP004)
1,731 2,084 2,634 5,103 12,246 7,143 140
Natural gas and components (EP006)
8,452 10,578 9,251 13,022 17,989 4,967 38.1
Miscellaneous manufactures:
             
Works of art and miscellaneous manufactured goods (MS017)
7,199 7,670 8,136 8,489 11,006 2,517 29.6
Precious jewelry and related articles (MS006)
6,458 7,680 8,748 10,146 11,331 1,185 11.7
Decreases:
             
Minerals and metals:
             
Precious metals and non-numismatic coins (MM020)
30,045 44,932 45,307 41,719 29,982 -11,737 -28.1
Copper and related articles (MM036)
7,468 9,113 9,082 8,471 8,030 -441 -5.2
Coal, coke, and related chemical products (EP003)
12,612 19,405 17,537 13,778 10,325 -3,453 -25.1
All other
1,072,240 1,229,393 1,270,833 1,290,969 1,321,038 30,068 2.3
Total
1,278,495 1,482,508 1,545,703 1,579,593 1,623,443 43,850 2.8
U.S. general imports:              
Increases:
             
Transportation equipment:
             
Certain motor-vehicle parts (TE010)
54,444 63,368 73,333 75,206 82,013 6,806 9
Motor vehicles (TE009)
130,065 140,963 168,195 176,780 183,251 6,471 3.7
Aircraft, spacecraft, and related equipment (TE013)
18,766 21,463 24,134 29,423 34,264 4,841 16.5
Telecommunications equipment (EL002)
74,406 80,170 83,922 91,776 98,161 6,386 7
Semiconductor manufacturing equipment  and robotics (MT019)
9,332 14,005 12,917 11,690 14,173 2,484 21.2
Decreases:
             
Energy-related products:
             
Crude petroleum (EP004)
260,105 336,687 315,820 273,836 246,970 -26,866 -9.8
Petroleum products (EP005)
69,267 94,648 92,564 89,209 79,808 -9,401 -10.5
All other
1,297,470 1,456,650 1,505,418 1,520,402 1,606,547 86,145 5.7
Total 1,913,857 2,207,954 2,276,302 2,268,321 2,345,187 76,866 3.4
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 February 20, 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. Imports

In 2014, the value of total U.S. imports increased by $76.9 billion (3 percent) to $2,345.2 billion, with the largest absolute shifts occurring in energy-related products (down $34.2 billion to $350.0 billion), transportation equipment (up $27.6 billion to $403.0 billion), and electronic products (up $16.5 billion to $438.2 billion). Lower domestic consumption of crude petroleum and higher U.S. production of this commodity contributed to the significant reduction in imports of energy-related products (down 9 percent) in 2014.

Mexican suppliers accounted for a little more than a third of the U.S. import growth in the transportation equipment sector. Benefiting from lower labor costs in Mexico, as well as duty-free access to the U.S. market under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. imports of transportation equipment from Mexico rose by $11.1 billion. At the same time, growth in U.S. imports from Canada was much lower ($2.7 billion), and imports from Japan declined by $2.8 billion. Increased imports of motor-vehicle parts, motor vehicles, and aircraft, spacecraft, and related equipment accounted for most of the growth in U.S. imports of transportation equipment in 2014 (see the Transportation Products webpage for more detail). Increased imports of telecommunications equipment accounted for most of the growth in U.S. imports of electronic products. China accounted for almost two-thirds of U.S. import growth in the electronic products sector in 2014 (see the Electronic Products webpage for more detail).

U.S. Trade Balance 2

In 2014, based on total exports and general imports, 9 of the 10 U.S. merchandise sectors addressed in 2014 Trade Shifts—all except the agricultural sector—registered trade deficits.3 The trade deficit for the energy-related products sector fell by $42.2 billion (18 percent), largely because of rising U.S. production of crude petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas, coupled with largely stagnant U.S. consumption. The change in this sector was a major factor in restraining the overall U.S. trade deficit to a $33.0 billion (5 percent) increase in 2014. The trade deficit reached $721.7 billion that year, about 1 percent below the five-year peak of $730.6 billion in 2012. Of the sectoral trade deficits, the largest increase in 2014 occurred in the minerals and metals sector; this deficit increased by $23.2 billion (80 percent) to $52.0 billion. Although the agricultural products sector recorded a trade surplus of $28.7 billion in 2014, this surplus represented a decline of $2.3 billion (8 percent) from the previous year.

Shifts in U.S. Bilateral/Multilateral Trade among Leading Trading Partners

In 2014, the United States’ top five single-country trading partners continued to be Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany (table US.4 and figure US.2). Together, these trading partners accounted for over half of U.S. trade with the world. The United States’ overall trade deficit with these five countries grew by $26.7 billion in 2014.

Table US.4: All merchandise sectors: Leading changes in U.S. exports and imports, 2010–14
 
Million $
 
           
Absolute change,
Percent change,
Item
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2013-14
2013-14
U.S. total exports:
             
Canada
249,256 281,292 292,651 301,610 312,125 10,516 3.5
China
91,911 104,122 110,516 121,736 124,024 2,288 1.9
Mexico
163,665 198,289 215,907 226,079 240,326 14,247 6.3
Japan
60,472 65,800 69,964 65,206 66,964 1,758 2.7
Germany
48,155 49,294 48,801 47,362 49,443 2,081 4.4
South Korea
38,821 43,462 42,265 41,715 44,544 2,829 6.8
United Kingdom
48,410 56,033 54,860 47,353 53,865 6,512 13.8
France
26,970 27,857 30,811 31,745 31,197 -547 -1.7
Brazil
35,418 43,019 43,807 44,119 42,418 -1,701 -3.9
Taiwan
26,050 25,932 24,337 25,472 26,836 1,363 5.4
All other
489,367 587,409 611,785 627,197 631,701 4,504 0.7
Total
1,278,495 1,482,508 1,545,703 1,579,593 1,623,443 43,850 2.8
EU-28 239,903 269,580 265,686 262,151 276,698 14,548 5.5
OPEC 54,226 64,809 81,732 84,679 82,729 -1,950 -2.3
Latin America 302,241 367,301 399,138 410,478 425,123 14,645 3.6
Asia 338,678 380,707 386,958 402,075 408,279 6,204 1.5
Sub-Saharan Africa 17,110 21,165 22,503 23,938 25,381 1,443 6
U.S. general imports:              
Canada 277,637 315,325 324,264 332,553 346,063 13,510 4.1
China 364,953 399,371 425,626 440,448 466,656 26,209 6
Mexico 229,986 262,874 277,594 280,529 294,157 13,629 4.9
Japan 120,552 128,928 146,438 138,573 133,939 -4,635 -3.3
Germany 82,450 98,684 109,226 114,345 123,181 8,836 7.7
South Korea 48,875 56,661 58,902 62,386 69,606 7,219 11.6
United Kingdom 49,805 51,263 55,003 52,817 54,049 1,231 2.3
France 38,355 40,049 41,647 45,708 47,015 1,307 2.9
Brazil 23,958 31,737 32,123 27,634 30,337 2,703 9.8
Taiwan 35,847 41,405 38,861 37,940 40,572 2,632 6.9
All other 641,438 781,658 766,620 735,389 739,613 4,224 0.6
Total 1,913,857 2,207,954 2,276,302 2,268,321 2,345,187 76,866 3.4
EU-28 319,600 368,902 382,197 387,591 417,837 30,245 7.8
OPEC 149,893 191,470 180,752 152,690 132,132 -20,558 -13.5
Latin America 361,412 437,165 449,384 439,041 444,588 5,547 1.3
Asia 721,630 796,218 849,763 865,588 910,823 45,235 5.2
Sub-Saharan Africa 65,026 74,322 49,624 39,294 26,751 -12,542 -31.9
U.S. merchandise trade balance:              
Canada -28,380 -34,033 -31,613 -30,943 -33,937 -2,994 -9.7
China -273,042 -295,250 -315,111 -318,711 -342,633 -23,921 -7.5
Mexico -66,321 -64,585 -61,687 -54,450 -53,831 618 1.1
Japan -60,080 -63,128 -76,474 -73,368 -66,975 6,393 8.7
Germany -34,295 -49,390 -60,425 -66,983 -73,738 -6,756 -10.1
South Korea -10,055 -13,200 -16,636 -20,672 -25,062 -4,390 -21.2
United Kingdom -1,395 4,771 -143 -5,464 -183 5,280 96.6
France -11,386 -12,192 -10,835 -13,963 -15,818 -1,855 -13.3
Brazil 11,460 11,282 11,684 16,485 12,081 -4,403 -26.7
Taiwan -9,797 -15,473 -14,523 -12,468 -13,736 -1,268 -10.2
All other -152,071 -194,249 -154,835 -108,192 -107,913 280 0.3
Total -635,362 -725,447 -730,599 -688,728 -721,744 -33,016 -4.8
EU-28 -79,697 -99,322 -116,512 -125,441 -141,138 -15,698 -12.5
OPEC -95,667 -126,661 -99,021 -68,011 -49,403 18,608 27.4
Latin America -59,171 -69,864 -50,247 -28,564 -19,465 9,098 31.9
Asia -382,951 -415,512 -462,805 -463,513 -502,544 -39,032 -8.4
Sub-Saharan Africa -47,916 -53,157 -27,121 -15,356 -1,370 13,986 91.1
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 February 20, 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
Figure US.2: Total trade between the United States and its five largest single-country trading partners, 2014

This stacked bar chart shows the dollar values (in billions of dollars) of U.S. exports to and U.S. imports from the United State's top five trading partners from 2010 to 2014.  The top five trading partners are Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, and Germany.

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 February 20, 2015).

U.S. trade deficits increased with China (up $23.9 billion to $342.6 billion), Germany (up $6.8 billion to $73.7 billion), and Canada (up $3.0 billion to $33.9 billion). However, they fell with Japan (down $6.4 billion to $67.0 billion) and Mexico (down $618 million to $53.8 billion) in 2014.

The largest trade balance shift in 2014 occurred with China (see the China webpage for more detail). A $10.8 billion increase in U.S. imports of electronic products from China substantially contributed to the growing U.S. trade deficit with China, while U.S. merchandise exports to China marginally increased.


1 USGS, “Value of U.S. Mineral Production Increases,” January 30, 2015
2 Trade data in this section consist of total exports and general imports as reported by U.S. Census. “Total exports” include both domestic exports and re-exports, i.e., goods that are imported into the United States and then exported without alteration in form, condition, or value. “General imports” include merchandise from foreign countries, whether or not it enters consumption channels immediately or is entered into bonded warehouses or U.S. foreign-trade zones. For further definitions of trade terms, see the “Trade Metrics” webpage, the “Trade Measure Definitions“ webpage, or http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/reference/definitions/.
3 The 10 sectors are agricultural products, chemicals and related products, electronic products, energy and related products, footwear, forest products, machinery, minerals and metals, textiles and apparel, and transportation equipment., respectively; accessed February 20, 2015).