Nicknamed “The Lone Star State” and located in America’s South Central region, Texas shipped US$330.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount represents a 4.6% uptick from 2018 to 2019 and a 42.7% increase since 2016.
Texas is America’s number one exporter by state ahead of California, New York and Washington. The value of Texas’ exports equals 20.1% of the United States’ overall exported products for 2019.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Texas’ exported products represent 18.3% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product for 2019. The latter real dollar values were expressed in 2009 chained dollars, according to the BEA.
Given the population of 29 million Texans as of July 2019, the total $330.5 billion in 2019 Texan exports translates to roughly $11,400 for every resident in the Lone Star State.
Per YCharts, the unemployment rate for Texas was 3.5% as of December 2019, the same as one year earlier.
Texas’ Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Texas global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Texas.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Crude petroleum oils: US$57.9 billion (17.5% of total Texan exports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $25.4 billion (7.7%)
- Light petroleum oils: $22.7 billion (6.9%)
- Liquified propane: $10.5 billion (3.2%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $10.2 billion (3.1%)
- Computer parts and accessories: $9.8 billion (3%)
- Integrated circuits (processors/controllers): $9.1 billion (2.7%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $4.2 billion (1.3%)
- Machinery for making semi-conductors: $3.8 billion (1.2%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $3.6 billion (1.1%)
The top 10 exports from Texas accounted for 47.7% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Natural gas in its gaseous state represent the fastest grower among the top 10 Texan export categories, up by 56.2% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were crude petroleum oils which rose 50.1%. Third-fastest was a 44.5% gain for integrated circuits exported from Texas, well ahead of the 18.2% improvement in international sales for aircraft including engines and other parts.
Leading the decliners among Texas’ top 10 export products year over year were liquified propane (down -18.6%), miscellaneous petroleum oils (down -10.5%) and light petroleum oils (down -9.2%).
Overall, Texas generated a $35.7 billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -32.9% year-over-year reduction from $53.3 billion in black ink one year earlier for 2018.
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 the top 10 products imported by Texas, highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2019.
- Crude petroleum oils: $25.6 billion (8.7% of total Texan imports)
- Digital processing units (individual components): $18.8 billion (6.4%)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $13.9 billion (4.7%)
- Cell phones: $13.5 billion (4.6%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $9.5 billion (3.2%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $7.8 billion (2.6%)
- Integrated circuits (processors/controllers): $7.3 billion (2.5%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $6.8 billion (2.3%)
- Wirings (vehicle, aircraft): $5.1 billion (1.7%)
- Automobiles (both internal combustion/electrical engine): $3.2 billion (1.1%)
Texas has highly negative net exports in the international trade of electronics processing components, automobiles and cellphones. In turn, these cashflows indicate comparative competitive disadvantages for Texas under these product categories showing the impact of foreign goods on the state’s global balance sheet.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased 69% worth of the total value of products exported from Texas during 2019.
- Mexico $108.6 billion (32.9% of total Texan exports)
- Canada $28.4 billion (8.6%)
- South Korea $16.9 billion (5.1%)
- Brazil $13.5 billion (4.1%)
- Netherlands $11.7 billion (3.5%)
- Japan $11.3 billion (3.4%)
- China $11 billion (3.3%)
- United Kingdom $9.7 billion (2.9%)
- India $8.7 billion (2.6%)
- Taiwan $8.5 billion (2.6%)
The top customers for Texan exports located in North America represent well under half (41.5%) of the overall value of goods shipped from the Lone Star State and were purchased on international markets during 2019.
Texas Export Companies
Fifty-one of Texas-headquartered corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Selected examples are listed below.
- Exxon Mobil (oil, gas)
- Phillips 66 (oil refining)
- Valero Energy (oil, gas)
- AT&T Inc (telecommunications)
- ConocoPhillips (oil, gas)
- Dell (computers)
- Energy Transfer Equity (oil, gas)
- Sysco Corp (food products)
- Tesoro Corp (refined oils)
- National Oilwell Varco (oilfield equipment)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related product category in which each business deals.
The capital city for Texas is Austin, nicknamed the “Live Music Capital of the World”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports, Top United States Trade Balances and Alberta’s Top Exports
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Houston Chronicle, Texas’ biggest companies, according to Forbes, by Fernando Ramirez. Accessed on March 8, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 8, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 8, 2020
Office of the Texas Governor, The Largest Companies Headquartered in Texas. Accessed on March 8, 2020
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on March 8, 2020
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YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on March 8, 2020