Virginia’s Top 10 Exports

Virginia state flag courtesy of

Virginia state flag

Nicknamed “Old Dominion” located in America’s Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions, the Commonwealth of Virginia shipped US$18.4 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount represents a 3.1% uptick from 2017 to 2018 and an 11.2% increase since 2015.

Virginia is America’s 24th-biggest exporter by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Washington states. The value of Virginia’s exports equals 1.1% of United States’ overall exported products for 2018.

Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Virginia’s exported products represent 3.4% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2018 ($544.3 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).

Given Virginia’s population of 8.518 million people, its total $18.4 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $2,200 for every resident in the Old Dominion state.

Virginia’s unemployment rate was 2.9% at April 2019 down from 3.4% as of March 2018, per YCharts.

Virginia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Virginia global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Virginia.

Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.

  1. Coal (non-agglomerated, bituminous): US$1.1 billion (6.1% of Virginia’s total exports)
  2. Integrated circuits (memories): $736 million (4%)
  3. Soya beans: $701 million (3.8%)
  4. Semi-trailer truck tractors: $535 million (2.9%)
  5. Aircraft including engines, parts: $479 million (2.6%)
  6. Office machine parts and accessories: $375 million (2%)
  7. Spacecraft, satellites, launch vehicles: $310 million (1.7%)
  8. Turbo-jet parts: $305 million (1.7%)
  9. Solid residues including soya bean oil-cake: $278 million (1.5%)
  10. Kraft paper: $274 million (1.5%)

Virginia’s top 10 exports accounted for more than one-quarter (27.8%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.

Spacecraft, satellites and launch vehicles were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 134.8% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving export sales were semi-trailer truck tractors which rose 72.6%.

Virginia’s shipments of solid residues including soya bean oil-cake posted the third-fastest gain in value via a 53.6% increase, just ahead of the 53.3% gain for turbo-jet parts.

The lone decliner among Virginia’s top 10 export products was Kraft paper thanks to its -34% drop year over year.

More Key Facts

Overall, Virginia incurred a -$11.1 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2018. That dollar amount reflects an -11.6% year-over-year decrease from -$12.6 billion in red ink in 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 Virginia’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2018.

  1. Office machine parts and accessories: $2 billion (6.8% of Virginia’s total imports)
  2. Digital processing units (individual components): $790 million (2.7%)
  3. Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $688 million (2.3%)
  4. Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, doll carriages): $557 million (1.9%)
  5. Turbo-jets: $396 million (1.3%)
  6. Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $322 million (1.1%)
  7. Miscellaneous hormones: $305 million (1%)
  8. Large automobiles (piston engine): $291 million (1.0%)
  9. Multi-function print/copy/fax machines: $246 million (0.8%)
  10. Radio navigational aids: $246 million (0.8%)

Virginia has highly negative net exports in the international trade of office machine parts and accessories and components that comprise digital processing units. In turn, these cashflows indicate Virginia’s competitive disadvantages under these product categories.


The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased over half (56.4%) worth of the total value of products exported from Virginia during 2018.

  1. Canada: $3.2 billion (17.2% of Virginia’s total exports)
  2. China: $1.2 billion (6.6%)
  3. Mexico: $1.11 billion (6%)
  4. United Kingdom: $1.06 billion (5.7%)
  5. Germany: $1.05 billion (5.7%)
  6. Netherlands: $685 million (3.7%)
  7. Belgium: $581 million (3.2%)
  8. Singapore: $577 million (3.1%)
  9. Japan: $506 million (2.8%)
  10. South Korea: $445 million (2.4%)

Virginia’s top trade partners in North America (Canada and Mexico) bought almost one-quarter (23.2%) of the overall value of exported goods from the state commonly called “Old Dominion”.


Virginia Export Companies

Thirty-six of Virginia-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Selected examples are listed below.

  • NewMarket Corp (petroleum additives)
  • Universal Corp (tobacco products)
  • Beacon Roofing Supply (building supplies)
  • CACI International Inc (technology, professional services)
  • Orbital ATK Inc (aerospace, defense industry products)
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries (ships,submarines, aircraft carriers)
  • Advance Auto Parts (auto parts, accessories)
  • Computer Sciences Corp (technology, professional services)
  • Performance Food Group (food products, snacks)
  • Altria Group (tobacco products)

Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business sells.


Virginia’s capital is Richmond, a city nicknamed “RVA”, “The River City” and “Capital of the South”.

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

Research Sources:
Department of Numbers, Virginia GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on June 19, 2019, Flags of US States. Accessed on June 19, 2019

Forbes, 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 19, 2019

GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List for 2016 , Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on June 19, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 19, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 19, 2019

United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on June 19, 2019

United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Virginia. Accessed on June 19, 2019

Wikipedia, Category:Companies based in Virginia. Accessed on June 19, 2019

Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on June 19, 2019

Wikipedia, Virginia. Accessed on June 19, 2019

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Richmond, United States. Accessed on June 19, 2019

YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on June 19, 2019