The most valuable US imports also include smartphones, computer hardware and accessories. Petroleum is another area where America’s domestic supply lags demand, which explains why both crude oil as well as processed oils appear on the top 20 list.
The following list shows on which product categories US importers spent the most. Unlike most information currently available on the web, the items below are detailed at the 4-digit tariff code level. This can help entrepreneurs identify more precisely which products in which America has strong demand but competitive disadvantages compared with other nations. Innovation can transform these disadvantages into lucrative business opportunities.
The United States is the world’s number one importer.
Highest Value US Import Products
Below are the 20 highest value import products delivered to American importers in 2016. Shown within brackets is the change in value for each imported product since 2009.
- Cars: US$173.3 billion (Up 110.8% from 2009 to 2016)
- Crude oil: $108.1 billion (Down -46.1%)
- Phone system devices including smartphones: $104.9 billion (Up 76.8%)
- Computers, optical readers: $77.7 billion (Up 43%)
- Medication mixes in dosage: $67.5 billion (Up 48.7%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $66.6 billion (Up 122.8%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $41.2 billion (Down -24.6%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $30.8 billion (Up 86.3%)
- Trucks: $25.2 billion (Up 216.9%)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $24.4 billion (Up 91.2%)
- Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): $24 billion (Up 114.6%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $23.4 billion (Down -30.2%)
- Miscellaneous furniture: $23.2 billion (Up 72.2%)
- Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $22.1 billion (Up 65.1%)
- Turbo-jets: $21.9 billion (Up 53.6%)
- Blood fractions (including antisera): $20.2 billion (Up 225%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $19.4 billion (Up 117.2%)
- Printing machinery: $17.3 billion (Down -6.5%)
- Aircraft parts: $16.8 billion (Up 86.6%)
- Gold (unwrought): $16.5 billion (Up 102.8%)
Among these product categories, blood fractions including antisera posted the greatest increase in American import purchases with a 225% gain in value compared to 2009.
In second place were trucks imported into the US which improved by 216.9% over the same 7-year period.
US imports of automobile parts and accessories showed a respectable gain in 2016 up 122.8% from 2011, followed by insulated wire or cable up 117.2%.
Other US import products showing leading increases in value since 2009 were seats (up 114.6%), cars (up 110.8%) and gold (up 102.8%).
See also America’s Top Trading Partners, Top United States Trade Balances and United States Top 10 Imports
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 10, 2017
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 10, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 10, 2017