United States Top 10 Exports

United States Top 10 Exports

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America shipped US$1.454 trillion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 37.6% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in but down by -3.3% from 2015 to 2016.

America’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds (68.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, US total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $18.562 trillion as of October 2016. Therefore, exports accounted for roughly 7.8% of total American economic output.

Given United States’s population of 324 million people, its total $1.454 trillion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $4,500 for every resident in that country.

United States’s unemployment rate was 4.8% as of January 2017 — a modest improvement from the 4.9% jobless rate one year earlier.

United States Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in American global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the United States at the two-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. At the more granular four-digit HTS level, America’s number 1 export is processed petroleum oils followed by cars, automotive parts and accessories, electronic integrated circuits then mobile phones.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$190.5 billion (13.1% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $167.2 billion (11.5%)
  3. Aircraft, spacecraft: $134.6 billion (9.3%)
  4. Vehicles : $124.3 billion (8.5%)
  5. Mineral fuels including oil: $94.7 billion (6.5%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $82.0 billion (5.6%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $58.4 billion (4.0%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $57.8 billion (4.0%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: $47.1 billion (3.2%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $33.9 billion (2.3%)

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories for 2016, up in value by 72.4% for the 7-year period starting in 2009. Crude and refined petroleum oils as well as petroleum gases were the leading gainers under this category.

In second place for improving export sales were vehicles which rose 68.8% led by international sales of cars, automotive parts and accessories and trailers.

Exports of American aircraft and spacecraft appreciated by 62.3% over the 7-year period.


The following types of American product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Aircraft, spacecraft: US$103.6 billion (Up by 60.7% since 2009)
  2. Oil seeds: $25.3 billion (Up by 41.5%)
  3. Cereals: $16.8 billion (Up by 10.1%)
  4. Other chemical goods: $11.5 billion (Up by 9.2%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $8.1 billion (Down by -37.4%)
  6. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $7.1 billion (Up by 21.5%)
  7. Meat: $6.7 billion (Up by 4.6%)
  8. Woodpulp: $5.6 billion (Up by 31.1%)
  9. Cotton: $4.7 billion (Up by 15.8%)
  10. Miscellaneous food preparations: $4.1 billion (Up by 117.4%)

United States has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft launching gear and deck-arresting landing equipment. In turn, these cashflows indicate America’s strong competitive advantages under the aerospace product category.


Below are exports from the United States that are negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country United States’s goods trail American importer spending on foreign products.

Overall, the US compiled a -$797.9 billion trade deficit during 2016, expanding by 46.4% from the -$545.2 billion deficit for all products in 2009.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$168.8 billion (Up by 81.7% since 2009)
  2. Vehicles : -$160.8 billion (Up by 169%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$124.9 billion (Up by 129.9%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: -$68.7 billion (Down by -69.3%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$52.2 billion (Up by 104.8%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$45.4 billion (Up by 197.8%)
  7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$42.8 billion (Up by 31%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$36.3 billion (Up by 18.6%)
  9. Footwear: -$25.2 billion (Up by 45.6%)
  10. Toys, games: -$24.3 billion (Up by 13.8%)

United States has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for electronic equipment, including consumer electronics.

The resulting cashflow deficiency clearly exemplifies US competitive disadvantages in the international electronics market, but also represents a key opportunity for United States to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations and creative employment initiatives.

The above list also reveals other opportunities, given that mineral fuels including oil was the only top category where America’s trade deficit slimmed from 2009 to 2016.


American Export Companies

Wikipedia lists many of the larger international trade players from the United States:

  • Apple (computer hardware)
  • Exxon Mobil (oil, gas)
  • Johnson & Johnson (medical equipment, supplies)
  • Chevron Corporation (oil, gas)
  • Procter & Gamble (household, personal care items)
  • Pfizer (pharmaceuticals)
  • The Coca-Cola Company (beverages)
  • Merck & Co (pharmaceuticals)
  • Qualcomm (semiconductors)
  • Philip Morris International (tobacco)
  • Intel (semiconductors)
  • Schlumberger (oil, gas)
  • PepsiCo (beverages)
  • Cisco Systems (communications equipment)
  • Boeing (aerospace)
  • ConocoPhillips (oil, gas)
  • AbbVie (pharmaceuticals)
  • Occidental Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceuticals)

America’s capital city is Washington, D.C.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also United States Top 10 Major Export Companies, American Global Technology Companies, America’s Top Import Partners, Top United States Trade Balances, Highest Value US Export Products and America’s Top 20 Export States

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 9, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 9, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 9, 2016

Wikipedia, List of Companies of United States. Accessed on February 9, 2016