7 US Largest Exports That You Should Know About
The United States is one of the world’s largest exporters, selling goods and services to other countries worth over $2 trillion in 2022. But what are the top US exports, and which markets do they go to? In this article, we will explore the seven largest export categories of the US, and how they contribute to the economy and global trade.
1. Mineral Fuels Including Oil
The US is a major producer and exporter of oil and natural gas, thanks to its abundant shale resources and technological innovations. In 2021, mineral fuels including oil accounted for 18.4% of total US exports, worth $378.6 billion. The main destinations for US oil and gas exports were Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, and South Korea.
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2. Machinery Including Computers
The US is also a leader in manufacturing and exporting machinery and equipment, ranging from industrial machines to consumer electronics. In 2021, machinery including computers made up 11.1% of total US exports, worth $229.6 billion. The top markets for US machinery exports were Mexico, Canada, China, Germany, and Japan.
3. Electrical Machinery and Equipment
Another major export category for the US is electrical machinery and equipment, which includes products such as electric motors, generators, transformers, batteries, lighting devices, and telecommunication equipment. In 2021, electrical machinery and equipment represented 9.6% of total US exports, worth $197.7 billion. The main buyers of US electrical products were Mexico, Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Germany.
The US is also a prominent exporter of vehicles, especially cars and trucks. In 2021, vehicles accounted for 6.5% of total US exports, worth $134.9 billion. The top destinations for US vehicle exports were Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.
5. Aircraft and Spacecraft
The US is a global leader in aerospace technology and innovation, producing and exporting aircraft and spacecraft for civilian and military use. In 2021, aircraft and spacecraft comprised 5% of total US exports, worth $102.8 billion. The main markets for US aerospace exports were China, France, United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan.
6. Optical, Technical, Medical Apparatus
The US is also a major exporter of optical, technical, and medical apparatus, which includes products such as lenses, cameras, instruments, appliances, and devices for medical or scientific purposes. In 2021, optical, technical, medical apparatus constituted 4.8% of total US exports, worth $99.1 billion. The top buyers of US optical products were Canada, China, Germany, Netherlands, and Japan.
7. Gems and Precious Metals
The US is also a significant exporter of gems and precious metals, which includes products such as diamonds, gold, silver, platinum, and jewelry. In 2021, gems and precious metals amounted to 4.5% of total US exports, worth $92.5 billion. The main destinations for US gems and precious metals exports were Switzerland, Hong Kong, India, United Kingdom, and Canada.
The US is a diversified and competitive exporter of goods and services to the world, contributing to its economic growth and global influence. The top seven export categories of the US are mineral fuels including oil, machinery including computers, electrical machinery and equipment, vehicles, aircraft and spacecraft, optical, technical, medical apparatus, and gems and precious metals. These categories reflect the strengths and advantages of the US in various sectors and industries.
US Largest Exports: Trends and Analysis
The United States is one of the world’s largest exporters of goods and services, with total exports amounting to $2.061 trillion in 2021. That represents a 17.6% increase from 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp decline in global trade. In this blog post, we will look at some of the major export categories, markets and trends for the US in 2021, based on data from the U.S. Commerce Department and other sources.
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Mineral Fuels: The Top Export Product
Mineral fuels, including oil, gas and coal, were the top export product for the US in 2021, accounting for 18.4% of total exports. This category includes refined petroleum oils, crude oil, petroleum gases, coal and coke. The value of mineral fuel exports increased by 57.5% from 2020 to 2021, reaching $378.6 billion.
The main markets for US mineral fuels were Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea. The US also exported significant amounts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, India and Brazil. The US became a net exporter of natural gas in 2017 and a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products in 2019, thanks to the shale revolution that boosted domestic production.
Some of the factors that contributed to the growth of mineral fuel exports in 2021 were:
- The recovery of global demand after the pandemic-induced slump in 2020
- The rise of oil prices due to supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions
- The expansion of LNG export capacity and infrastructure in the US
- The diversification of export destinations and contracts for US LNG
- The competitive advantage of US oil and gas producers due to low costs and technological innovation
Machinery: The Second-Largest Export Category
Machinery, including computers, was the second-largest export category for the US in 2021, accounting for 11.1% of total exports. This category includes various types of machinery used for industrial, agricultural, construction, mining and other purposes, as well as computer hardware and software. The value of machinery exports increased by 18.5% from 2020 to 2021, reaching $229.6 billion.
The main markets for US machinery were Canada, Mexico, China, Germany and Japan. The US also exported significant amounts of machinery to other countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The US is a global leader in machinery manufacturing and innovation, with a strong presence in sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, robotics and renewable energy.
Some of the factors that contributed to the growth of machinery exports in 2021 were:
- The rebound of global industrial activity after the pandemic-induced slowdown in 2020
- The increase of investment and consumption spending in major economies
- The implementation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and facilitated trade in machinery among the three countries
- The resilience of US machinery exporters amid supply chain challenges and trade disputes
- The development of new products and services that meet the changing needs and preferences of customers
Electrical Machinery: The Third-Largest Export Category
Electrical machinery, equipment and parts were the third-largest export category for the US in 2021, accounting for 9.6% of total exports. This category includes various types of electrical equipment used for power generation, transmission, distribution and consumption, as well as electronic components and devices such as integrated circuits, transistors and diodes. The value of electrical machinery exports increased by 14.9% from 2020 to 2021, reaching $197.7 billion.
The main markets for US electrical machinery were Mexico, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The US also exported significant amounts of electrical machinery to other countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The US is a major producer and exporter of electrical machinery, with a strong position in sectors such as semiconductors, solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles.
Some of the factors that contributed to the growth of electrical machinery exports in 2021 were:
- The recovery of global demand for electrical products after the pandemic-induced drop in 2020
- The increase of investment in renewable energy sources and smart grid technologies
- The growth of digitalization and connectivity across various industries and sectors
- The emergence of new applications and markets for electrical products such as 5G networks, artificial intelligence and internet of things
- The innovation and competitiveness of US electrical machinery exporters amid supply chain constraints and trade tensions
The US is one of the world’s largest exporters of goods and services, with a diversified and dynamic export portfolio. In 2021, the US saw a significant increase in its exports, driven by the recovery of global trade after the COVID-19 pandemic and the strength of its domestic production and innovation. The top three export categories for the US in 2021 were mineral fuels, machinery and electrical machinery, which together accounted for 39.1% of total exports. The main markets for US exports were Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the United Kingdom, as well as other countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
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