Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade, 2018
Investigation No. 332-345
Publication 5012 (December 2019)

Welcome to Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade, 2018 (also called 2018 Trade Shifts), published by the U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission or USITC). The Commission’s annual examination of trends in U.S. trade describes the global macroeconomic conditions for the year, as well as changes within 10 industry sectors and a number of possible reasons for these changes. The report also contains a “special topic” chapter, which details certain trade actions in 2018 and the trade shifts that occurred following these actions.

The first part of the report gives a macroeconomic overview of the global economy in 2017–18, while the second part provides interactive data visualizations for U.S. two-way (bilateral) trade flows with China, Mexico, Japan, Canada, and South Korea. The report’s third part contains analyses of 10 important U.S. industry sectors covering roughly 92 percent of U.S. trade, with a focus on general imports, domestic exports, and re-exports. (For more information on trade terminology please refer to USITC, “Special Topic: Trade Metrics,” Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2014.) Data for two additional sectors—miscellaneous manufactures and special provisions—are included in some tables, but are not discussed in detail in the text.

The final section of the report presents data on merchandise trade that is subject to new U.S. tariffs imposed in accordance with actions taken under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, as well as actions taken by other countries in response to the U.S. tariffs. This section offers a timeline of the major trade actions, based on U.S. and foreign government documents, and presents examples from the trade data of clear-cut increases or decreases in exports or imports for products affected by these tariffs.

This year’s report again features a complete downloadable dataset for U.S. merchandise trade in 2018. As in previous years’ reports, the Commission is publishing 2018 Trade Shifts in a web-based format to optimize the use of interactive features. The report integrates user-friendly graphics with the analyses, with the graphics appearing at the top of the webpage for each trading partner and sector. Viewers can change the data presentation in any graphic by hovering their cursors over the graphic. Each section has its own webpage, and the hyperlinks can be opened in the leftmost column of this home page. We appreciate feedback. Please email comments to


Part I: Introduction

Part II: Country Shifts

Part II provides interactive graphics for shifts in trade between the United States and five key trading partners:

The Commission selected Canada for the interactive graphics because it was the United States’ second-largest trading partner based on exports plus imports in 2018. Likewise, the Commission selected South Korea because it had the largest increase in its trade balance with the United States (exports minus imports). Finally, the Commission selected China, Mexico, and Japan because these countries registered the largest absolute or relative increase in U.S. exports or imports in 2018.

Part III: Sector Shifts

Part III analyzes shifts in trade for the following 10 industry sectors:

Part IV: Special Topic:

General Contacts

Office of Industries

Jessica Pugliese
Project Leader

Angélica Marrero
Deputy Project Leader

Media Contact

Peg O’Laughlin
Public Affairs Officer