U.S. Imports and Exports: How the U.S. Trades

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The U.S. imports more than it exports. The difference in trade makes a deficit of $471 billion. Although America exports billions in oil, material goods and Industrial supplies, it imports even in bigger amounts. There are two main categories of exports in US, Material goods take up about 70% of all U.S. exports which amounts to $1.579 trillion, and Services exports consists of about 30% at $682 billion. As a comparison US Imports of Material Goods amounts to 80% of all Imports, which is at $2.268 trillion, Services make up only 20% of US imports at $450 billion. One-third of Material Goods export is capital goods ($527 billion). The largest sub-categories are commercial aircraft ($54 billion), industrial machines ($49 billion), semiconductors ($43 billion), telecommunications ($40 billion), electric apparatus ($40 billion) and medical equipment ($34 billion).

As comparison in US imports, Capital goods is one fourth of all goods imported to US ($548 billion). Which includes computers ($65 billion), computer accessories ($57 billion), and telecommunications equipment ($54 billion) among the largest catagories. About 30% of goods exports is industrial supplies and equipment ($508 billion) of which the largest sub-divisions are chemicals ($65 billion), fuel oil ($64 billion), petroleum products ($61 billion), plastic ($36 billion), and non-monetary gold ($33 billion). After Industrial Supplies and Equipment, Consumer Goods counts 12% of goods exports ($189 billion), which consists of pharmaceuticals ($48 billion), cell phones ($24 billion) and gem diamonds ($21 billion).

Next category is Automobiles which makes up 10% ($152 billion) of all goods exported. Only 9% of exports are Foods, Feeds and Beverages ($136 billion). (Source: U.S. Census, Exhibit 7. Exports by End-Use Category, 2013) Services counts about 30% of all U.S. exports ($682 billion). The largest sub-category here is Travel passenger services, at $140 billion. Royalties and License Fees comes next in this category, at $130 billion. Passenger fares followed at $41 billion, and other transportation was $45 billion. (Source: U.S. Census, Exhibit 3, U.S. Services by Major Category — Exports, 2013) As mentioned above, 80% of all US imports are Goods, which a third comes from industrial machinery and equipment at $681 billion is the largest category. In this category chemicals, fuel oil, petroleum and industrial supplies are the largest sub-categories.

Capital goods accounts for about 25% of all goods imported at $548 billion). The main sub-categories here are computers ($65 billion), computer accessories ($57 billion), and telecommunications equipment ($54 billion). Another 25% of Imports are consumer goods at $533 billion. This category consists of mainly; cell phones being the largest ($90 billion), followed by pharmaceuticals ($84 billion) and apparel ($49 billion). The fourth largest category was automotive vehicles, parts, and engines at $309 billion. Food, feeds, and beverages make up the smallest category, at $115 billion.

Other goods categories worth mentioning here are fish ($18 billion), fruit ($13 billion) and vegetables ($11 billion). (Source: U.S. Census, Exhibit 6 – Imports by End-Use Category) As mentioned above again Services make up only 20% of US imports at $450 billion. Of this private services, mainly financial services, accounted for almost half of all services imports, at $201 billion. This is followed by travel passenger services, at $86 billion. Other transportation services was $59 billion, and passenger fares totaled $38 billion. Royalties and license fees services came next at $42 billion.

Last but not least was U.S. Government service imports at $25 billion, which was mainly defense. (Source: U.S. Census, Exhibit 4,U.S. Services by Major Category — Imports, 2013) The difference in US Exports vs. US Imports creates a trade deficit of about $471 billion. As compared to earlier years US trade deficit is declining. The record deficit of $753 billion was set in 2006. Since then the economy is strengthening, a lower deficit means exports are starting to gain on imports. This is good for business, and will eventually create more U.S. jobs.