Washington State’s Top 10 Exports

Washington state flag courtesy of FlagPictures.org

Washington state flag

Nicknamed “The Evergreen State” and located in America’s Pacific Northwest region, the State of Washington shipped US$77 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents a -3.2% decline from 2016 to 2017 and a -15% drop since 2014.

Washington is America’s third-biggest exporter by state behind Texas and California. The value of Washington’s exports equals about 5.2% of United States’ overall exported products for 2017.

Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Washington’s exported products represent 18.6% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2016. The latter real dollar values were expressed in 2009 chained dollars, according to the BEA.

Given Washington’s population of 7.406 million people, its total $77 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $10,400 for every resident in the Evergreen State.

Washington’s unemployment rate was 4.8% as of March 2018 per YCharts.

Washington’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Washington global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Washington.

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

  1. Aircraft including engines, parts: US$41.8 billion (54.3% of Washington’s total exports)
  2. Soya beans: $3.8 billion (4.9%)
  3. Wheat (excluding durum): $2.1 billion (2.8%)
  4. Corn: $1.9 billion (2.4%)
  5. Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $933 million (1.2%)
  6. Large automobiles (piston engine): $774 million (1%)
  7. Miscellaneous coniferous logs/poles: $759 million (1%)
  8. Frozen potatoes: $756 million (1%)
  9. Ultrasonic scanning equipment: $731 million (0.9%)
  10. Fresh apples: $721 million (0.9%)

Washington’s top 10 exports accounted for 70.4% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.

Large automobiles with piston engines had the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 452.9% from 2016.

In second place for improving export sales was non-durum wheat which rose 30.7%.

Miscellaneous coniferous logs and poles shipped from Washington posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 9.5%.

The leading decliner among Washington top 10 export products were miscellaneous petroleum oils, which dropped -24.6% year over year.

More Key Facts

Overall, Washington garnered a $27-billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -17.2% year-over-year decrease from $32.6 billion in black ink in 2016.

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 Washington’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2017.

  1. Crude petroleum oils: $3.8 billion (7.6% of Washington’s total imports)
  2. Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $3.3 billion (6.6%)
  3. Natural gas (gaseous state): $2.6 billion (5.1%)
  4. Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $1.9 billion (3.8%)
  5. Video game machines: $1.8 billion (3.7%)
  6. Broadcast transmission equipment: $932 million (1.9%)
  7. Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $924 million (1.8%)
  8. Broadcast reception equipment: $810 million (1.6%)
  9. Solid-state semiconductor storage devices: $678 million (1.4%)
  10. Small portable digital computers: $651 million (1.3%)

Washington has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft and soya beans. In turn, these cashflows indicate Washington’s strong competitive global advantages under these product categories.


The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase almost two-thirds (64.2%) worth of the total value of products exported from Washington during 2017.

  1. China $18.3 billion (23.7% of Washington’s total exports)
  2. Canada $8 billion (10.4%)
  3. Japan $5.4 billion (7%)
  4. United Arab Emirates $4.1 billion (5.3%)
  5. South Korea $3.3 billion (4.3%)
  6. Taiwan $2.6 billion (3.3%)
  7. Norway $2.15 billion (2.8%)
  8. Mexico $2.03 billion (2.6%)
  9. Saudi Arabia $1.97 billion (2.6%)
  10. Russia $1.85 billion (2.4%)

Washington’s top trade partners in Asia account for 40.7% of the overall value of exported goods from the Evergreen State.


Washington Export Companies

Ten of Washington-headquartered corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. Selected examples are listed below.

  • Paccar (commercial vehicles, auto parts)
  • Weyerhaeuser (forest products)
  • Microsoft Corporation (software, technology products)
  • Expeditors International (freight forwarding, customs brokerage)
  • Alaska Air Group (airliner)
  • Amazon.com (global e-commerce, cloud computing)

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

Washington’s capital is Olympia, a city nicknamed “Oly” and “O-Town”.

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

Research Sources:
Department of Numbers, Washington GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on April 30, 2018

FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on April 30, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 30, 2018

GeoLounge, Fortune 500 List by State for 2015. Accessed on April 30, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 30, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 30, 2018

United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on April 28, 2018

United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Washington. Accessed on April 30, 2018

Wikipedia, Washington (state). Accessed on April 30, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Washington (state) companies. Accessed on April 30, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Olympia, United States. Accessed on April 30, 2018

YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on April 30, 2018