Hawaii’s Top 10 Exports

Hawaii state flag courtesy of FlagPictures.org

Hawaii flag

Nicknamed “The Aloha State” and “Paradise of the Pacific” comprised of Polynesia’s northernmost group of islands within the central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii shipped US$938 million worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents an 18% gain from 2016 to 2017 but a -35.2 % setback since 2014.

Hawaii is America’s smallest exporter by state well behind front-runners Texas, California, Washington and New York state. The value of Hawaii’s exports equals 0.1% of United States’ overall exported products for 2017.

Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Hawaii’s exported products represent 1.3% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2016. The latter real dollar values were expressed in 2009 chained dollars, according to the BEA.

Given Hawaii’s population of 1.428 million people, its total $938 million in 2017 exports translates to roughly $700 for every resident in the Aloha State.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 2.1% as of March 2018 per YCharts.

Hawaii’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Hawaii global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Hawaii.

Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.

  1. Medium-size aircraft: US$225 million (24% of Hawaii’s total exports)
  2. Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $178 million (18.9%)
  3. Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $74 million (7.9%)
  4. Light petroleum oils: $73 million (7.8%)
  5. Aircraft including engines, parts: $68 million (7.2%)
  6. Iron or steel scrap: $27 million (2.9%)
  7. Aromatic hydrocarbon mixes: $26 million (2.8%)
  8. Beef cuts (boneless, fresh/chilled): $24 million (2.6%)
  9. Cold-water shrimps, prawns: $19 million (2%)
  10. Waters, ice, snow (unsweetened, non-flavored): $15 million (1.6%)

Hawaii’s top 10 exports accounted for more than three-quarters (77.7%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.

Miscellaneous petroleum oils was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 165.7% from 2016.

In second place for improving export sales was aircraft plus engines and other parts, a category which appreciated by 119.4%.

Hawaii’s shipments of fresh or chilled boneless beef cuts posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 84.6%.

The leading decliner among Hawaii’s top 10 export products was miscellaneous aircraft parts which retreated -66.4% year over year.

More Key Facts

Overall, Hawaii incurred a -$2.9 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 34.7% year-over-year increase from -$2.1 billion in black ink for 2016.

Another way of saying surplus or deficit is positive or negative net exports. In a nutshell, the term “net exports” quantifies the amount by which foreign spending on a state’s goods or services exceeds or lags that same state’s spending on foreign goods or services.

Below are Hawaii’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2017.

  1. Crude petroleum oils: $2 billion (52.4% of Hawaii’s total imports)
  2. Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $338 million (8.9%)
  3. Large aircraft: $159 million (4.2%)
  4. Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $108 million (2.8%)
  5. Large automobiles (piston engine): $108 million (2.8%)
  6. Wood kitchen furniture (excluding chairs): $23 million (0.6%)
  7. Jewelry articles clad in precious metal: $21 million (0.6%)
  8. Floating docks, special vessels: $21 million (0.6%)
  9. Liquified propane: $20 million (0.5%)
  10. Hybrid passenger vehicles: $20 million (0.5%)

Hawaii has highly negative net exports in the international trade of petroleum oils, particularly crude oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Hawaii’s competitive disadvantages under these product categories.


The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase 92.4% worth of the total value of products exported from Hawaii during 2017.

  1. Australia: $340 million (36.3% of Hawaii’s total exports)
  2. China: $124 million (13.3%)
  3. Singapore: $123 million (13.1%)
  4. South Korea: $119 million (12.7%)
  5. Japan: $79 million (8.4%)
  6. Canada: $25 million (2.6%)
  7. Vietnam: $16 million (1.7%)
  8. Hong Kong: $14 million (1.5%)
  9. Bangladesh: $13 million (1.4%)
  10. Taiwan: $13 million (1.4%)

Hawaii’s top trade partners in Asia consume 45.1% of the overall value of exported goods from the Aloha State.


Hawaii Export Companies

Two Hawaii-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies in 2017, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Listed below are both firms that have their headquartered in Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu.

  • Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (airliner for passengers, cargo)
  • Hawaiian Electric Industries (electricity)

Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the products or services which in each business deals, some of which are international trade-related.

Hawaii’s capital is Honolulu, a city nicknamed “Crossroads of the Pacific” and “Sheltered Bay”.

See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances

Research Sources:
Department of Numbers, Hawaii GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on May 11, 2018

FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on May 11, 2018

Forbes, 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 11, 2018

GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List for 2016 , Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on May 11, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 11, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 11, 2018

State Symbols USA, State Nicknames. Accessed on May 11, 2018

United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Hawaii. Accessed on May 11, 2018

Wikipedia, Hawaii. Accessed on May 11, 2018

Wikipedia, Category: Companies. Accessed on May 11, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Honolulu, United States. Accessed on May 11, 2018

YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on May 11, 2018