Top US Exports 2020

United States Top 10 Exports
by Flagpictures.org

The United States of America shipped $1.431 trillion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a -1.4% decline since 2016 and a -13% decline from 2019 to 2020.

America’s biggest export products by value in 2020 were perfected petroleum oil, crude oil, cars, electronic integrated circuits and petroleum gases. In aggregate, those major exports explain 16.4% of overall exports sales from the United States. That comparatively low percentage indicates a diversified range of exported goods.

The United States ranks among world-leading nations for exporting perfected petroleum oils, cars and petroleum gases.

The latest obtainable country-specific data in 2020 shows that 69.3% of products exported from the U.S. were bought by importers in: Canada (17.8% of the global total), Mexico (14.9%), China (8.7%), Japan (4.5%), United Kingdom (4.1%), Germany (4%), South Korea (3.6%), Netherlands (3.2%), Brazil (2.4%), Taiwan (2.1%), France (2%) and Belgium (1.9%).

From a continental perspective, 32.7% of exports from the United States by value was delivered to its fellow North American trade partners. Meanwhile 32.4% was sold to Asian importers with another 22.5% worth of goods going to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (9%), Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (1.9%) then Africa (1.5%).

Given America’s population of 330 million people, its total $1.431 trillion in revenues from exports in 2020 translates to approximately $4,300 for every U.S. resident.

Top 10

The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in American global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage proportion each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the United States.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$182.6 billion (12.8% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $162.9 billion (11.4%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $155.1 billion (10.8%)
  4. Vehicles: $105.2 billion (7.3%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $83.4 billion (5.8%)
  6. Aircraft, spacecraft: $80.9 billion (5.7%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $60.2 billion (4.2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $60 billion (4.2%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: $53.9 billion (3.8%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $34 billion (2.4%)

America’s top 10 exports surpass over two-thirds (68.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Only two top 10 export categories grew in value from 2019 to 2020, namely pharmaceuticals (up 0.7%) and gems or precious metals (up 0.6%).

Half of the top export categories declined year over year: aircraft and spacecraft (down -40.5%), mineral fuels including oil (down -22.4%), vehicles (down -21%), organic chemicals (down -13.6%) and machinery including computers (down -11.3%).

observe that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of America’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Advantages

The following types of American product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or sets exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or sets.

  1. Aircraft, spacecraft: US$52.3 billion (Down by -48.2% since 2019)
  2. Oil seeds: $28.6 billion (Up by 33%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $25 billion (Reversing a -$10.4 billion deficit)
  4. Cereals: $16.7 billion (Up by 15.6%)
  5. Other chemical goods: $13.2 billion (Down by -19.6%)
  6. Meat: $8.7 billion (Down by -2.1%)
  7. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $7.3 billion (Up by 2.9%)
  8. Cotton: $6.1 billion (Down by -13.3%)
  9. Woodpulp: $4.5 billion (Down by -8.4%)
  10. Ores, slag, ash: $4.2 billion (Up by 3%)

For example, United States has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft launching gear and other on-deck landing equipment. In turn, these cashflows indicate America’s strong competitive advantages under the aerospace-related products category.

Opportunities

Overall the U.S. incurred a -$976.1 billion trade deficit for 2020, expanding by 5.7% from the -$923.2 billion in red ink for all products one year earlier.

Below are product categories from the United States that are negative net exports or product trade balance deficits for 2020. These negative net exports show product categories where foreign spending on American goods trail U.S. importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$180.6 billion (Up by 0.8% since 2019)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$179 billion (Up by 3.4%)
  3. Vehicles: -$149.3 billion (Down by -15.7%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: -$85.6 billion (Up by 14.6%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$57 billion (Up by 0.1%)
  6. Gems, precious metals: -$47 billion (Reversing a $1.5 billion surplus mainly gold)
  7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$36 billion (Down by -20.6%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$31.2 billion (Down by -15.9%)
  9. Toys, games: -$31 billion (Up by 11.9%)
  10. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: -$28.6 billion (Up by 95.2%)

United States has highly negative net exports and consequently thorough international trade deficits for electronics-related equipment, notably consumer electronics.

The resulting cashflow deficiency clearly symbolize U.S. competitive disadvantages in the international electronics market, but also represents a meaningful opportunity for United States to enhance its position in the global economy by focused innovations and creative employment initiatives in the homeland.

Companies

Wikipedia lists many of the larger international trade players from the United States.

  • Apple (computer hardware)
  • Exxon Mobil (oil, gas)
  • Johnson & Johnson (medical equipment, supplies)
  • Chevron Corporation (oil, gas)
  • Procter & Gamble (household, personal care items)
  • Pfizer (pharmaceuticals)
  • The Coca-Cola Company (beverages)
  • Merck & Co (pharmaceuticals)
  • Qualcomm (semiconductors)
  • Philip Morris International (tobacco)
  • Intel (semiconductors)
  • Schlumberger (oil, gas)
  • PepsiCo (beverages)
  • Cisco Systems (communications equipment)
  • Boeing (aerospace)
  • ConocoPhillips (oil, gas)
  • AbbVie (pharmaceuticals)
  • Occidental Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceuticals)

 

Searchable List of America’s Most Valuable Export Products

The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-need goods shipped from the United States during 2020. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decline from 2019 to 2020.

Rank US Export Product 2020 Value (US$) YOY
1 Processed petroleum oils $60,709,450,000 -30.6%
2 Crude oil $50,285,962,000 -23%
3 Cars $45,642,596,000 -18.7%
4 Integrated circuits/microassemblies $44,212,664,000 +10.3%
5 Petroleum gases $33,344,747,000 +9.2%
6 Automobile parts/accessories $33,166,077,000 -22.9%
7 Phone system devices including smartphones $28,091,200,000 -8.5%
8 Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays) $28,022,805,000 -5.7%
9 Blood fractions (including antisera) $26,090,951,000 +0.9%
10 Soya beans $25,851,456,000 +38.1%
11 Computers, optical readers $24,776,333,000 -3.9%
12 Medication mixes in dosage $23,081,430,000 +1%
13 Gold (unwrought) $20,561,623,000 +19.7%
14 Machinery for making semi-conductors $19,614,947,000 +26.9%
15 Trucks $14,007,618,000 -18%
16 Computer parts, accessories $12,893,764,000 -22.7%
17 Ethylene polymers $10,859,250,000 -1%
18 Taps, valves, similar appliances $10,561,409,000 -12.8%
19 Diamonds (unmounted/unset) $10,388,779,000 -41.4%
20 Platinum (unwrought) $9,834,087,000 +108.1%
21 Centrifuges, filters and purifiers $9,799,017,000 -6.1%
22 Corn $9,575,254,000 +19.5%
23 Physical/chemical examination tools $9,271,485,000 -0.4%
24 Orthopedic appliances $9,209,338,000 -14.3%
25 Other diagnostic/lab reagents $9,203,144,000 +21.5%
26 Lower-voltage switches, fuses $9,111,526,000 -12.8%
27 Turbo-jets $8,506,810,000 -9.3%
28 Insulated wire/cable $8,297,105,000 -17.6%
29 Precious metal waste, fragment $7,886,168,000 +50.5%
30 Miscellaneous nuts $7,845,288,000 -7.5%
31 Liquid pumps and elevators $7,280,393,000 -12.4%
32 Miscellaneous machinery $6,699,751,000 -10.3%
33 Miscellaneous plastic items $6,552,160,000 -5.2%
34 Wheat $6,318,111,000 +0.8%
35 Unrecorded sound media $6,255,186,000 +28.9%
36 Engines (diesel) $6,236,138,000 -21.5%
37 Other food preparations $6,211,975,000 -0.8%
38 Solar strength diodes/semi-conductors $6,158,816,000 -7.9%
39 Coal, substantial fuels made from coal $6,092,861,000 -37.9%
40 Swine meat $5,985,996,000 +14.7%
41 Cotton (uncarded, uncombed) $5,969,433,000 -2.9%
42 Hand-drawn paintings, drawings $5,921,127,000 -37.6%
43 Aircraft parts $5,897,823,000 -9.7%
44 Piston engines $5,750,707,000 -16.5%
45 Air or vacuum pumps $5,746,264,000 -11.6%
46 Electrical converters/strength units $5,613,491,000 -5.7%
47 Transmission shafts, gears, clutches $5,544,668,000 -11%
48 Machinery parts $5,427,803,000 -26.3%
49 Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers $5,361,331,000 -2.3%
50 Jewelry $5,333,123,000 -42%
51 Plastic packing goods, lids, caps $5,287,174,000 -3.6%
52 Polyacetal/ether/carbonates $5,212,161,000 -7.1%
53 Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations $5,081,837,000 -16.8%
54 Chemical industry products/residuals $5,026,811,000 -0.3%
55 Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels $4,990,431,000 -16.3%
56 Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips $4,969,331,000 -3.9%
57 Other measuring/testing machines $4,875,198,000 -13.4%
58 Piston engine parts $4,823,941,000 -19.3%
59 Iron or steel fragment $4,781,698,000 -10.5%
60 Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides $4,449,100,000 +7.6%
61 Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps $4,241,682,000 -18.5%
62 Electric motors, generators $4,216,213,000 -0%
63 Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving) $4,165,520,000 -9.9%
64 Electrical machinery $4,164,524,000 -16%
65 Miscellaneous iron or steel items $4,092,544,000 -10.6%
66 Tractors $3,976,145,000 -34%
67 Rubber tires (new) $3,974,149,000 -20.1%
68 Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches $3,881,047,000 -11.4%
69 Poultry meat $3,837,182,000 +2.3%
70 Printing machinery $3,812,940,000 -22.6%
71 X-ray equipment $3,680,580,000 -8.5%
72 Soya-bean oil-cake, other substantial residues $3,680,203,000 +6.9%
73 Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers $3,622,489,000 -17.6%
74 Fresh or chilled beef $3,562,210,000 +1.1%
75 Temperature-change machines $3,538,991,000 -14.1%
76 Other organic cleaning preparations $3,526,401,000 +5.6%
77 Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers) $3,486,768,000 -16.8%
78 Electric storage batteries $3,434,595,000 -8.8%
79 Acyclic hydrocarbons $3,358,251,000 -18.5%
80 Miscellaneous animal satisfy preparations $3,355,155,000 +6.1%
81 Aircraft, spacecraft $3,221,382,000 -13.9%
82 Vinyl chloride polymers $3,196,314,000 -14%
83 Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates $3,181,891,000 -8.3%
84 Liquid/gas checking instruments $3,167,290,000 -11.1%
85 Propylene/olefin polymers $3,161,577,000 -11.2%
86 Uncoated kraft paper $3,142,920,000 -6.2%
87 Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs) $3,005,356,000 -23.9%
88 Frozen beef $2,991,577,000 -12.1%
89 Beet-pulp, brew/distilling waste $2,980,644,000 +2%
90 Petroleum oil residues $2,959,212,000 -31%
91 Acyclic alcohols $2,951,848,000 -1.2%
92 Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools $2,940,214,000 -1.9%
93 Harvest/threshing machinery $2,852,986,000 -10.8%
94 Cyclic hydrocarbons $2,831,155,000 -29.4%
95 TV/radio/radar device parts $2,793,206,000 -7%
96 Bombs, grenades, ammunition $2,756,032,000 -38.1%
97 Trailers $2,738,358,000 -27.6%
98 control/control instruments $2,729,100,000 -20.4%
99 Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings $2,724,224,000 -9%
100 Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips $2,695,689,000 -9.5%

These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$912.3 billion or approaching two-thirds (63.7%) by value for all products exported from the U.S. during 2020.

In macroeconomic terms, the United States’ total exported goods represent 6.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($20.807 trillion valued in Purchasing strength Parity U.S. dollars). That 6.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 7.7% for 2019. Those metrics seem to indicate a comparatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for America’s total economic performance, at the minimum in the short term.

Another meaningful indicator of a country’s economic performance is its jobless rate. America’s unemployment rate published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was 6.3% in January 2021, up from an average 3.892% one year earlier as reported by the International Monetary Fund.

See also United States Top 10 Imports, America’s Top Trading Partners, Top United States Trade Balances and America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research supplies:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 29, 2021

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing strength Parity). Accessed on April 29, 2021

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 29, 2021

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 29, 2021

Richest Country Reports, meaningful Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on April 29, 2021

Wikipedia, List of Companies of United States. Accessed on April 29, 2021

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