Nicknamed “The Evergreen State” and located in America’s Pacific Northwest region, the State of Washington shipped US$60.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -22.9% increase from 2018 to 2019 and a -24.4% drop since 2016.
Washington is America’s fourth-biggest exporter by state behind Texas, California and New York. The value of Washington’s exports equals about 3.7% of United States’ overall exported products for 2019.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Washington’s exported products represent 11.6% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product forecasted for 2019 ($519.6 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Washington’s population of 7.546 million people, its total $60.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $8,000 for every resident in the Evergreen State.
Washington’s unemployment rate was 4.3% at December 2019 down from 4.8% as of March 2019, per YCharts.
Washington’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Washington global shipments during 2019. 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.
- Aircraft including engines, parts: US$25.4 billion (42.2% of Washington’s total exports)
- Soya beans: $4.1 billion (6.8%)
- Wheat (excluding durum): $2.5 billion (4.2%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $1.7 billion (2.9%)
- Corn: $1.3 billion (2.2%)
- Frozen potatoes: $883 million (1.5%)
- Ultrasonic scanning equipment: $820 million (1.4%)
- Fresh apples: $733 million (1.2%)
- Soya bean flours, meals: $717 million (1.2%)
- Rutabagas, similar forage products: $500 million (0.8%)
Washington’s top 10 exports represent 64.4% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Soya beans was the fastest grower among Washington’s top 10 export categories, up by 71.4% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was non-durum wheat which rose 21.3%. Miscellaneous petroleum oils shipped from Washington posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 18.9%.
Leading decliners year over year were Washington’s exports of corn (down -64.1%), aircraft including engines and other parts (down -39.3%) and ultrasonic scanning equipment (down -5.9%).
More Key Facts
Overall, Washington generated a $7.2 billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2019. That dollar amount reflects -69.1% year-over-year shrinkage from $23.4 billion in black ink in 2018.
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 2019.
- Crude petroleum oils: $5.4 billion (10.2% of Washington’s total imports)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $3.9 billion (7.3%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $2.6 billion (4.9%)
- Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, doll carriages): $1.4 billion (2.7%)
- Video game consoles, machinery: $1.4 billion (2.6%)
- Solid-state semiconductor storage devices: $883 million (1.7%)
- Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $874 million (1.7%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $732 million (1.4%)
- Boiled or steamed crabs: $512 million (1%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $498 million (0.9%)
Washington has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft, soya beans and corn. 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 (64.4%) worth of the total value of products exported from Washington during 2019.
- China $9 billion (14.9% of Washington’s total exports)
- Canada $8.5 billion (14.2%)
- Japan $7.2 billion (12%)
- South Korea $2.51 billion (4.2%)
- Mexico $2.47 billion (4.1%)
- Qatar $2.2 billion (3.7%)
- United Kingdom $1.86 billion (3.1%)
- Taiwan $1.81 billion (3%)
- Germany $1.76 billion (2.9%)
- Philippines $1.6 billion (2.6%)
Washington’s top trade partners in Asia consume 40.4% of the overall value of exported goods from the Evergreen State. This compares with 18.3% for Washington state’s exports to its North American trade partners.
Washington Export Companies
Ten of Washington-headquartered corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. 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 British Columbia’s Top Exports
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FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on March 10, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 10, 2020
GeoLounge, Fortune 500 List by State. Accessed on March 10, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 10, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 10, 2020
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on March 10, 2020
United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Washington. Accessed on March 10, 2020
Wikipedia, Washington (state). Accessed on March 10, 2020
Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on March 10, 2020
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World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Olympia, United States. Accessed on March 10, 2020
YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on March 10, 2020