Nicknamed “The Evergreen State” and located in America’s Pacific Northwest region, the State of Washington shipped US$77.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 1.7% increase from 2017 to 2018 but a -10% drop since 2015.
Washington is America’s fourth-biggest exporter by state behind Texas, California and New York. The value of Washington’s exports equals about 4.7% of United States’ overall exported products for 2018.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Washington’s exported products represent 13.5% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2018 ($576.6 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Washington’s population of 7.536 million people, its total $77.7 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $10,300 for every resident in the Evergreen State.
Washington’s unemployment rate was 4.7% at April 2019 down from 4.8% as of March 2018, per YCharts.
Washington’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Washington global shipments during 2018. 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$41.8 billion (53.8% of Washington’s total exports)
- Corn: $3.7 billion (4.8%)
- Soya beans: $2.4 billion (3.1%)
- Wheat (excluding durum): $2 billion (2.6%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $1.2 billion (1.6%)
- Ultrasonic scanning equipment: $871 million (1.1%)
- Frozen potatoes: $798 million (1%)
- Fresh apples: $760 million (1%)
- Soya bean flours, meals: $705 million (0.9%)
- Light petroleum oils: $557 million (0.7%)
Washington’s top 10 exports represent 70.6% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Corn had the fastest-growing among Washington’s top 10 export categories, up by 96.6% from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for improving export sales were soya bean flours and meals which rose 40.2%.
Miscellaneous petroleum oils shipped from Washington posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 31%, ahead of the 19.2% expansion for ultrasonic scanning equipment.
The leading decliner among Washington top 10 export products were soya beans, which dropped -35.6% year over year.
More Key Facts
Overall, Washington garnered a $23.3 billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -12.3% year-over-year decrease from $26.6 billion in black 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 Washington’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2018.
- Crude petroleum oils: $5 billion (9.2% of Washington’s total imports)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $3.6 billion (6.7%)
- Video game consoles, machinery: $2.5 billion (4.6%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $2.1 billion (3.9%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $1.5 billion (2.7%)
- Solid-state semiconductor storage devices: $1063 million (2%)
- Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, doll carriages): $973 million (1.8%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $969 million (1.8%)
- Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $900 million (1.7%)
- Broadcast transmission equipment: $464 million (0.9%)
Washington has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft, corn 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 purchased almost two-thirds (64.4%) worth of the total value of products exported from Washington during 2018.
- China $16 billion (20.6% of Washington’s total exports)
- Canada $9.1 billion (11.7%)
- Japan $6.1 billion (7.8%)
- South Korea $4.6 billion (5.9%)
- United Kingdom $4 billion (5.2%)
- Taiwan $2.3 billion (3%)
- Mexico $2.14 billion (2.8%)
- United Arab Emirates $2.08 billion (2.7%)
- India $1.84 billion (2.4%)
- Ireland $1.82 billion (2.3%)
Washington’s top trade partners in Asia account for 39.7% of the overall value of exported goods from the Evergreen State. This compares with 14.5% 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 Top United States Trade Balances
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FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on June 15, 2019
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GeoLounge, Fortune 500 List by State. Accessed on June 15, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 15, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 15, 2019
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on June 15, 2019
United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Washington. Accessed on June 15, 2019
Wikipedia, Washington (state). Accessed on June 15, 2019
Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on June 15, 2019
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World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Olympia, United States. Accessed on June 15, 2019
YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on June 15, 2019