United States Top 10 Exports

United States Top 10 Exports

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American exports amounted to US$1.51 trillion during 2015, up 1.5% since 2011 but down -7.1% from 2014. America’s top 10 exports accounted for 68.4% 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 $17.968 trillion in 2015.

Therefore, exports accounted for about 8.4% of total American economic output.

Given United States’s population of 321.4 million people, its total $1.51 trillion in 2015 exports translates to roughly $4,682 for every resident in that country.

United States’s unemployment rate was 4.9% as of January 2016 — a marked improvement from the 6.2% jobless rate in 2014.

United States Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in American global shipments during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the United States.

  1. Machines, engines, pumps: US$205.8 billion (13.7% of total exports)
  2. Electronic equipment: $169.8 billion (11.3%)
  3. Aircraft, spacecraft: $131.1 billion (8.7%)
  4. Vehicles: $127.1 billion (8.4%)
  5. Oil: $106.1 billion (7.1%)
  6. Medical, technical equipment: $83.4 billion (5.5%)
  7. Plastics: $60.3 billion (4%)
  8. Gems, precious metals, coins: $58.7 billion (3.9%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: $47.3 billion (3.1%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $38.8 billion (2.6%)

Aircraft and spacecraft was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories for 2015, up in value by 49.4% for the 5-year period starting in 2011.

In second place for improving export sales was pharmaceuticals which rose 23.4% led by international sales of antisera, vaccines and human or animal blood.

American-made electronic equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value up 6.5%.

The biggest-declining category among the top 10 US exports was oil which fell 18.7% led by a precipitous decline in refined petroleum sales.


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$95.7 billion (Up by 44.5% since 2011)
  2. Oil seed: $20.9 billion (Up by 9.2%)
  3. Cereals: $16 billion (Down by -38.8%)
  4. Other chemical goods: $12.7 billion (Down by -2.9%)
  5. Plastics: $10 billion (Down by -48.3%)
  6. Food waste, animal fodder: $8.2 billion (Up by 25.5%)
  7. Woodpulp: $5.3 billion (Down by -12.9%)
  8. Medical, technical equipment: $5.1 billion (Down by -61.7%)
  9. Meat: $4.9 billion (Down by -52.1%)
  10. Cotton: $4.8 billion (Down by -51.3%)

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.

  1. Electronic equipment: -US$163.1 billion (Up by 36.9% since 2011)
  2. Vehicles: -$156.6 billion (Up by 89.6%)
  3. Machines, engines, pumps: -$123.5 billion (Up by 51%)
  4. Oil: -$95 billion (Down by -70.6%)
  5. Furniture, lighting, signs: -$49.6 billion (Up by 64.2%)
  6. Knit or crochet clothing: -$45.8 billion (Up by 15.9%)
  7. Pharmaceuticals: -$38.8 billion (Up by 41.5%)
  8. Clothing (not knit or crochet): -$38 billion (Up by 9.2%)
  9. Footwear: -$27.3 billion (Up by 27.7%)
  10. Toys, games: -$25.1 billion (Up by 22%)

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 problem-solving.

The above list also reveals other opportunities, given that oil was the only top 10 product category where America’s trade deficit narrowed from 2011 to 2015.


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, 2016

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 9, 2016

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 9, 2016

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

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