Nicknamed “The Lone Star State” and located in America’s South Central region, Texas shipped US$315.4 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount represents a 19.2% uptick from 2017 to 2018 and a 26.8% increase since 2015.
Texas is America’s number one exporter by state ahead of California, New York and Washington. The value of Texas’ exports equals 19.6% of United States’ overall exported products for 2018.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Texas’ exported products represent 17.8% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product for 2018. The latter real dollar values were expressed in 2009 chained dollars, according to the BEA.
Given the population of 28.702 million Texans as of July 2018, the total $315.4 billion in 2018 Texan exports translates to roughly $11,000 for every resident in the Lone Star State.
Per YCharts, the unemployment rate for Texas was 3.7% as of April 2019. That metric represents an improvement from 4% at March 2018.
Texas’ Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Texas global shipments during 2018. 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$38.7 billion (12.3% of total Texan exports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $28.1 billion (8.9%)
- Light petroleum oils: $24.7 billion (7.8%)
- Liquified propane: $13.2 billion (4.2%)
- Computer parts and accessories: $10.8 billion (3.4%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $8.6 billion (2.7%)
- Integrated circuits (processors/controllers): $6.3 billion (2%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $4.5 billion (1.4%)
- Machinery for making semi-conductors: $3.8 billion (1.2%)
- Cotton (uncarded, uncombed): $3.3 billion (1%)
The top 10 exports from Texas accounted for 44.9% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Crude petroleum oils represent the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 127% from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for improving export sales were light petroleum oils which rose 30.6%.
Third-fastest was a 21.3% gain for Texan-exported miscellaneous petroleum oils, just ahead of the 21.2% improvement in international sales for liquified propane.
The sole decliner among Texas’ top 10 export products were modems and similar reception or transmission devices which fell by -10.4% year over year.
Overall, Texas incurred a $10.8 billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 730.8% year-over-year improvement from $1.3 billion in black ink one year earlier for 2017.
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 2018.
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $38.3 billion (12.6% of total Texan imports)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $18.7 billion (6.1%)
- Semi-trailer truck tractors $17.1 billion (5.6%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $12.1 billion (4%)
- Integrated circuits (processors/controllers): $9 billion (3%)
- Digital processing units (individual components): $8.6 billion (2.8%)
- Wirings (vehicle, aircraft): $5.6 billion (1.8%)
- Crude petroleum oils: $5 billion (1.7%)
- Cell phones: $4.9 billion (1.6%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $3.1 billion (1%)
Texas has highly negative net exports in the international trade of automobiles, processors and controllers for integrated circuits, 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 70.2% worth of the total value of products exported from Texas during 2018.
- Mexico $109.7 billion (34.8% of total Texan exports)
- Canada $27.4 billion (8.7%)
- China $16.6 billion (5.3%)
- Korea, South $13.2 billion (4.2%)
- Japan $11.9 billion (3.8%)
- Brazil $10.3 billion (3.3%)
- Netherlands $9.7 billion (3.1%)
- United Kingdom $8.4 billion (2.7%)
- Taiwan $7.3 billion (2.3%)
- Singapore $6.2 billion (2%)
The top customers for Texan exports located in North America represent under half (43.5%) of the overall value of goods from the Lone Star State that were purchased on international markets during 2018.
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 and Top United States Trade Balances
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FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on April 30, 2018
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 10, 2019
Houston Chronicle, Texas’ biggest companies, according to Forbes, by Fernando Ramirez. Accessed on April 30, 2018
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 10, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 10, 2019
Office of the Texas Governor, The Largest Companies Headquartered in Texas. Accessed on April 30, 2018
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on June 10, 2019
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YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on June 10, 2019