United States Top 10 Imports

United States Top 10 Imports

by Flagpictures.org

The United States of America imported US$2.614 trillion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects an 8.4% gain since 2014 and an 8.5% uptick from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, 45.4% of America’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from providers in Asia. Fellow North American trade partners supplied 25.8% of import sales to the U.S. while 21.9% worth originated from Europe. At 4.9%, suppliers from Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean accounted for a smaller percentage of American import purchase, with an even tinier 1.4% coming from Africa and 0.6% from Oceania led by Australia.

Given America’s population of 329.3 million people, its total $2.614 trillion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $7,900 in yearly product demand from each U.S. resident.

United States Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in America’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into the US.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$386.4 billion (14.8% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $367.1 billion (14%)
  3. Vehicles: $306.7 billion (11.7%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $241.4 billion (9.2%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: $116.3 billion (4.5%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $93.4 billion (3.6%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $72.1 billion (2.8%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $61.9 billion (2.4%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $60.8 billion (2.3%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $54.6 billion (2.1%)

America’s imports of pharmaceuticals had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 20.5% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for expanding import purchases was machinery including computers via an 18.6% uptick.

US imports of mineral fuels-related goods delivered the third-fastest improvement thanks to its 18.3% gain, propelled by America’s higher purchases of crude and refined petroleum oils.

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more detailed view of imported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of America’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article or under the adjacent product folder tabs.


In 2018, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$93.7 billion (up 10.4% from 2017)
  2. Computer parts, accessories: $28.1 billion (up 22.2%)
  3. Turbo-jets: $26.4 billion (up 11.5%)
  4. Printing machinery: $16.7 billion (down -1.7%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $16.7 billion (up 12.1%)
  6. Air or vacuum pumps: $12.04 billion (up 6.2%)
  7. Piston engines: $11.99 billion (up 7.9%)
  8. Liquid pumps and elevators: $11.8 billion (up 10.9%)
  9. Piston engine parts: $10 billion (up 6.2%)
  10. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $9.9 billion (up 9.2%)

Among these import subcategories, US purchases of computer parts or accessories (up 22.2%), taps, valves and similar appliances (up 12.1%) and turbo-jets (up 11.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among U.S. businesses and consumers.


In 2018, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$111.2 billion (down -1.8% from 2017)
  2. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $34.9 billion (up 4.2%)
  3. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $24.5 billion (down -0.5%)
  4. Insulated wire/cable: $22.3 billion (up 10.8%)
  5. Electrical converters/power units: $15.4 billion (up 8.1%)
  6. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $12.6 billion (up 11.2%)
  7. Unrecorded sound media: $11.9 billion (up 5.2%)
  8. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $11.8 billion (up 7.9%)
  9. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $11.4 billion (down -4.2%)
  10. Electric motors, generators: $10.2 billion (up 5%)

Among these import subcategories, US purchases of electrical and optical circuit boards or panels (up 11.2%), insulated wire or cable (up 10.8%) and electrical converters or power units (up 8.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among U.S. businesses and consumers.


In 2018, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Cars: US$178.5 billion (down -0.6% from 2017)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $71.5 billion (up 7.4%)
  3. Trucks: $28.8 billion (up 8.8%)
  4. Tractors: $12.5 billion (up 37.3%)
  5. Trailers: $4.5 billion (up 24.6%)
  6. Motorcycles: $2.8 billion (up 24.2%)
  7. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $1.6 billion (up 12.6%)
  8. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $1.5 billion (up 6.7%)
  9. Public-transport vehicles: $1.2 billion (up 7.8%)
  10. Automobile bodies: $1.2 billion (up 32.5%)

Among these import subcategories, US purchases of tractors (up 37.3%), automobile bodies (up 32.5%) and trailers (up 24.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among U.S. businesses and consumers.


In 2018, American importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.

  1. Crude oil: US$163.1 billion (up 17% from 2017)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $61.5 billion (up 28%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $10.7 billion (down -2.6%)
  4. Electrical energy: $2.1 billion (down -8%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $1.7 billion (up 45.4%)
  6. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $515.3 million (up 6.9%)
  7. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $514.1 million (down -22.1%)
  8. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $442.2 million (up 0.4%)
  9. Peat: $380 million (up 3.9%)
  10. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $214.8 million (up 150.3%)

Among these import subcategories, US purchases of natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 150.3%), petroleum oil residues (up 45.4%) and processed petroleum oils (up 28%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported energy supplies among U.S. businesses and consumers.


Searchable List of America’s Most Valuable Import Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the top U.S. import products are cars followed by crude oil, mobile phones, computers then auto parts.

The following searchable table displays 200 of America’s most in-demand imported goods during 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankUS Import Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$178.5 billion-0.6%
2Crude oil$163.1 billion+17%
3Phone system devices $111.2 billion-1.8%
4Computers, optical readers$93.7 billion+10.4%
5Medication mixes in dosage$71.7 billion+10.6%
6Automobile parts/accessories$71.5 billion+7.4%
7Processed petroleum oils$61.5 billion+28%
8Blood fractions (including antisera)$37.7 billion+43.3%
9Integrated circuits/microassemblies$34.9 billion+4.2%
10Trucks$28.8 billion+8.8%
11Computer parts, accessories$28.1 billion+22.2%
12Miscellaneous furniture$27.6 billion+8.6%
13Turbo-jets$26.4 billion+11.5%
14Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$26.2 billion+5.8%
15Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$25.4 billion+10.7%
16TV receivers/monitors/projectors$24.5 billion-0.5%
17Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$24.4 billion+5.4%
18Insulated wire/cable$22.3 billion+10.8%
19Aircraft parts$19.2 billion+14.4%
20Printing machinery$16.7 billion-1.7%
21Taps, valves, similar appliances$16.7 billion+12.1%
22Electrical converters/power units$15.4 billion+8.1%
23Rubber tires (new)$15.3 billion+7.9%
24Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$15.3 billion+6.1%
25Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$14.8 billion-1.3%
26Orthopedic appliances$13.4 billion+12%
27Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$12.6 billion+5.9%
28Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$12.6 billion+11.2%
29Tractors$12.5 billion+37.3%
30Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$12.5 billion+15.9%
31Aircraft, spacecraft$12.3 billion-11.1%
32Air or vacuum pumps$12 billion+6.2%
33Cases, handbags, wallets$12 billion+6.5%
34Piston engines$12 billion+7.9%
35Unrecorded sound media$11.9 billion+5.2%
36Liquid pumps and elevators$11.8 billion+10.9%
37Lower-voltage switches, fuses$11.8 billion+7.9%
38TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$11.4 billion-4.2%
39Miscellaneous plastic items$11.2 billion+9.9%
40Footwear (leather)$11 billion+3.2%
41Petroleum gases$10.7 billion-2.6%
42Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$10.4 billion+3.6%
43Aluminum (unwrought)$10.3 billion-5.5%
44Electric motors, generators$10.2 billion+5%
45Electrical machinery$10.1 billion+14.3%
46Piston engine parts$10 billion+6.2%
47Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$9.9 billion+9.2%
48Refrigerators, freezers$9.8 billion+6.8%
49Machinery parts$9.7 billion+16.2%
50Gold (unwrought)$9.6 billion-13.4%
51Electric water heaters, hair dryers$9.4 billion+11.8%
52Air conditioners$9.3 billion+15.6%
53Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$9.2 billion+11.7%
54Footwear (textile)$9.1 billion+6.5%
55Miscellaneous machinery$9.1 billion+8.9%
56Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$8.9 billion-16.6%
57Jewelry$8.8 billion-3.6%
58Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$8.7 billion+9.5%
59Machinery for making semi-conductors$8.7 billion+10.2%
60Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$8.5 billion+4.3%
61Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$8.4 billion+8.4%
62Hand-drawn paintings, drawings$8.1 billion+11.6%
63Table games, bowling equipment$7.9 billion+16.4%
64Electric storage batteries$7.9 billion+12.4%
65Base metal mountings, fittings$7.6 billion+10.9%
66Sawn wood$7.6 billion+1.8%
67Crustaceans (including lobsters)$7.3 billion-2.6%
68Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$7.3 billion+26.9%
69Engines (diesel)$6.8 billion+13.8%
70Sports equipment$6.8 billion+4.8%
71Fish fillets, pieces$6.7 billion+9.2%
72Physical/chemical analysis tools$6.6 billion+9.2%
73Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$6.5 billion+12.5%
74Wine $6.5 billion+4.6%
75Pneumatic hand tool$6.3 billion+7.3%
76Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$6.2 billion+0.3%
77T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$6.2 billion+5.2%
78Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$6 billion+16.7%
79Footwear (rubber or plastic)$6 billion-0.1%
80Microphones/headphones/amps$6 billion+3.6%
81Platinum (unwrought)$6 billion+32.6%
82Linens$6 billion+2.1%
83Miscellaneous engines, motors$5.9 billion+15.1%
84Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$5.8 billion+9.1%
85Coffee$5.7 billion-9.4%
86Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$5.7 billion+11.7%
87Temperature-change machines$5.7 billion+4.2%
88Miscellaneous iron or steel items$5.7 billion+15.3%
89Malt beer$5.6 billion+4.8%
90Miscellaneous heterocyclics$5.4 billion-8.4%
91Other measuring/testing machines$5.4 billion+3.4%
92Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$5.4 billion+9.6%
93Other food preparations$5.4 billion+125.5%
94Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$5.2 billion+9.1%
95Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns$5.1 billion+6.8%
96Refined copper, unwrought alloys$5.1 billion-0.7%
97Lifting/loading machinery$4.8 billion+9.3%
98Ethylene polymers$4.8 billion+7.7%
99Regulate/control instruments$4.7 billion-1.9%
100Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$4.6 billion+7.1%
101X-ray equipment$4.5 billion+7.3%
102Trailers$4.5 billion+24.6%
103Vulcanized rubber items$4.5 billion+9.4%
104Radar, radio communication items$4.5 billion-1.6%
105Electric ignition/start equipment$4.4 billion+8.2%
106Mattresses, quilts$4.4 billion+11.4%
107Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$4.2 billion+44%
108Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$4 billion-10.1%
109 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $4 billion+15.4%
110Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$4 billion-6.3%
111Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$4 billion+14.6%
112Sulphonamides$3.9 billion+52.4%
113Other diagnostic/lab reagents$3.9 billion+14.7%
114Iron or steel tubes, pipes$3.9 billion+10.9%
115Carnival items, magic tricks$3.8 billion+9.4%
116Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$3.7 billion+5.4%
117Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$3.7 billion-15.9%
118Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$3.7 billion+8.6%
119Mechano-therapy appliances$3.7 billion+4.7%
120Iron ferroalloys$3.7 billion+19.1%
121Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$3.7 billion+8.7%
122Telecommunication receivers$3.7 billion-10.7%
123Plastic tile or roll coverings$3.6 billion+46.8%
124Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)$3.6 billion+21.4%
125Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$3.6 billion+16.6%
126Liquid/gas checking instruments$3.6 billion+8.5%
127Iron and steel stoves, barbecues$3.5 billion+5.6%
128Rubber/plastic article making machines$3.5 billion+1%
129Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$3.5 billion+3.4%
130Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$3.5 billion+8.8%
131Interchangeable hand/machine tools$3.5 billion+14.2%
132Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$3.4 billion+1%
133Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$3.4 billion+5.3%
134Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$3.4 billion+14.9%
135Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$3.4 billion+20.6%
136Ball, roller bearings$3.4 billion+10%
137Silver (unwrought)$3.3 billion-8.4%
138Miscellaneous preserved fruits$3.3 billion+8.1%
139Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$3.3 billion-0.6%
140Filament/discharge lamps$3.2 billion+5.5%
141Vacuum cleaners$3.2 billion+18.2%
142Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)$3.2 billion+15.6%
143Iron and steel tables, household items$3.2 billion+6.9%
144Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$3.1 billion+6.8%
145Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$3.1 billion+20.4%
146Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$3.1 billion-2.1%
147Fresh or chilled beef$3.1 billion+9%
148Fork-lift trucks$3 billion+25.9%
149Other machine parts, accessories$3 billion+8.4%
150Monument/building stones, art$3 billion-1.3%
151Cyclic hydrocarbons$3 billion+13.5%
152Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$2.9 billion+10.5%
153Iron or steel pipe fittings$2.9 billion+31.6%
154Paper containers, cellulose wadding$2.9 billion+8.3%
155TV/radio/radar device parts$2.9 billion-5.7%
156Acyclic alcohols$2.9 billion+18.5%
157Amino-compounds (oxygen)$2.8 billion+33.7%
158Potassic fertilizers$2.8 billion+8.6%
159Bananas, plantains$2.8 billion+2.5%
160Chemical industry products/residuals$2.8 billion+14.6%
161Motorcycles$2.8 billion+24.2%
162Moulding boxes/base$2.8 billion+4.6%
163Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2.7 billion-0.2%
164Radioactive chemical elements$2.7 billion+3.7%
165Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$2.7 billion+11%
166Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$2.7 billion+22.2%
167Clothing, accessories (vulcanized rubber)$2.7 billion+12.3%
168Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$2.7 billion-0.8%
169Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)$2.7 billion+3.2%
170Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$2.6 billion+32.9%
171Locks, lock-keys$2.6 billion+5.5%
172Spectacles, goggles$2.6 billion+6.6%
173Coated paper$2.6 billion+16.8%
174Bras, corsets (not knit or crochet)$2.5 billion-13%
175Perfumes, toilet waters$2.5 billion+6.5%
176Pig iron$2.5 billion+33.6%
177Tomatoes$2.5 billion+9.4%
178Nitrogenous fertilizers$2.5 billion+8%
179Concrete/artificial stone items$2.5 billion+14.8%
180Electric motor parts$2.4 billion+3.7%
181Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)$2.4 billion+4.5%
182Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$2.4 billion+3.7%
183Harvest/threshing machinery$2.4 billion+17.3%
184Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$2.4 billion+5.1%
185Fruit and vegetable juices$2.4 billion+15%
186Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$2.4 billion+12.5%
187Heterocyclics, oxygen$2.3 billion+71.1%
188Whole fish (fresh)$2.3 billion+7.9%
189Frozen beef$2.2 billion+0.3%
190Printed circuits$2.2 billion+6%
191Zinc (unwrought)$2.2 billion+18.6%
192Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$2.2 billion+0.5%
193Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles$2.2 billion+3%
194Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$2.1 billion+13.3%
195Uncoated paper for writing/printing$2.1 billion+11.3%
196Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)$2.1 billion+17.2%
197Electrical energy$2.1 billion-8%
198Men's shirts (knit or crochet)$2 billion+0.2%
199Electromechanic domestic appliances$2 billion+7.9%
200Printed books, brochures$2 billion+6%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$2.074 trillion or almost four-fifths (79.3%) by value for all products imported into the United States during 2018.

See also United States Top 10 Exports, America’s Top Trading Partners, Top United States Trade Balances and America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed March 7, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 7, 2019