In 2019, the United States sold $1.645 trillion worth of goods shipped to international markets. That dollar amount represents an 8.5% slice compared to $19.284 trillion for total global exports from all countries during 2018.
About a third of America’s exported goods (33.4%) was delivered to fellow North American trade partners Canada and Mexico. Another 30.8% 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 (9.7%), Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (1.9%) then Africa (1.6%).
US Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of America’s top trading partners in terms of US export sales; that is, countries that imported the most American shipments by dollar value during 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total American exports.
- Canada: US$292.4 billion (17.8% of total US exports)
- Mexico: $256.4 billion (15.6%)
- China: $106.6 billion (6.5%)
- Japan: $74.7 billion (4.5%)
- United Kingdom: $69.2 billion (4.2%)
- Germany: $60.3 billion (3.7%)
- South Korea: $56.9 billion (3.5%)
- Netherlands: $51.2 billion (3.1%)
- Brazil: $43.1 billion (2.6%)
- France: $38.8 billion (2.4%)
- Belgium: $34.8 billion (2.1%)
- India: $34.4 billion (2.1%)
- Singapore: $31.5 billion (1.9%)
- Taiwan: $31.2 billion (1.9%)
- Hong Kong: $30.8 billion (1.9%)
Almost three-quarters (73.7%) of American exports in 2019 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The top increases in purchases of American exports from 2018 to 2019 belong to Belgium (up 10.6%), Brazil (up 8.9%), Netherlands (up 5.2%), Germany (up 4.4%) then the United Kingdom (up 4.3%).
Leading the decliners were Hong Kong (down -17.4%), China (down -11.3%), Singapore (down -3.7%) and Mexico (down -3.4%).
Overall the US incurred a -$923.2 billion trade deficit for 2019, contracting by -2.4% from the -$946.4 billion deficit for all products one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
United States incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$365.8 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- Mexico: -$105 billion
- Japan: -$72.3 billion
- Germany: -$69.6 billion
- Vietnam: -$58.5 billion
- Ireland: -$53 billion
- Italy: -$34.9 billion
- Canada: -$34.8 billion
- Malaysia: -$28.4 billion
- Switzerland: -$27.5 billion
Among America’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, US deficits with Switzerland (up 41.1%), Vietnam (up 40.6%) and Canada (up 31.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate America’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for United States to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
United States incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Hong Kong: US$26 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- Netherlands: $20.3 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $15.5 billion
- Australia: $14.9 billion
- Belgium: $14.1 billion
- Brazil: $11 billion
- Panama: $7.3 billion
- United Kingdom: $4.9 billion
- Singapore: $4.9 billion
- Qatar: $4.7 billion
Among America’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, US surpluses with Qatar (up 67.7%), Brazil (up 51.3%) and Panama (up 13.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate America’s competitive advantages with the above countries, and also represent key opportunities for United States to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing American Trading Partners
According to JOC.com, the following were the top US companies that shipped products from United States to its import partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the American business specializes in.
- Koch Industries (recovered wastepaper, plastic scrap, animal feeds)
- International Paper (paper, packaging)
- DeLong (animal feed, grain)
- Denison International (recyclable paper)
- DuPont (diversified chemicals)
- MeadWestvaco/RockTenn (paper, packaging)
- Sims Metal Management (recycled metals, electronics)
- Newport CH International (recycled paper, metals, plastics)
- Potential Industries (paper for recycling)
See also United States Top 10 Imports, United States Top 10 Exports, Top United States Trade Balances and America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 6, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 6, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 6, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 6, 2020
JOC.com, Top 100 US Exporters. Accessed on February 6, 2020
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on February 6, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of United States. Accessed on February 6, 2020