That dollar amount reflects a 23.1% increase compared to $1.425 trillion for total global exports from all countries one year earlier in 2020.
From a continental perspective, 33.4% of exports from the United States by value was delivered to its fellow North American trade partners. Meanwhile 32.3% was sold to Asian importers with another 21.2% worth of goods going to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (9.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (1.8%) led by Australia and New Zealand, then Africa (1.5%).
Addressing recent news developments, Russia is a relatively small customer for products exported from the United States, consuming only about 0.4% of the overall value of America’s exported goods for 2021. Ukraine imported an even smaller portion at 0.1%.
United States of America’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of America’s top trading partners in terms of generating US export sales; that is, countries that imported the most American shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total American exports.
- Canada: US$307 billion (17.5% of total US exports)
- Mexico: $276.5 billion (15.8%)
- China: $151.1 billion (8.6%)
- Japan: $75 billion (4.3%)
- South Korea: $65.8 billion (3.7%)
- Germany: $65.2 billion (3.7%)
- United Kingdom: $61.5 billion (3.5%)
- Netherlands: $53.6 billion (3.1%)
- Brazil: $46.9 billion (2.7%)
- India: $40.1 billion (2.3%)
- Taiwan: $36.9 billion (2.1%)
- Singapore: $35.8 billion (2%)
- Belgium: $33.7 billion (1.9%)
- France: $30.7 billion (1.7%)
- Hong Kong: $30 billion (1.7%)
- Australia: $26.4 billion (1.5%)
- Switzerland: $24 billion (1.4%)
- Italy: $21.8 billion (1.2%)
- Chile: $17.3 billion (1%)
- United Arab Emirates: $17.1 billion (1%)
- Colombia: $16.5 billion (0.9%)
- Spain: $16.1 billion (0.9%)
- Malaysia: $15.2 billion (0.9%)
- Ireland: $13.6 billion (0.8%)
- Israel: $12.8 billion (0.7%)
Over four-fifths (81.7%) of American exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
The greatest increase in purchases of US exported goods from 2020 to 2021 among these top trading partners belong to India (up 48.2%), Ireland (up 41.6%), Chile (up 38.9%), Colombia (up 38.1%), Brazil (up 35.5%), Singapore (up 32.8%) and Switzerland (up 32.6%).
The smallest gains are attributable the United Kingdom (up 5.2%), France (up 8.8%) and Italy (up 9.5%).
Countries Causing Biggest US Trade Deficits
Overall, the United States of America incurred a -$1.183 trillion trade deficit for 2021, expanding by 20.5% from the -$982 billion in red ink generated from America’s international trade one year earlier in 2020.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have incurred a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
United States incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$390.5 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Mexico: -$111.9 billion
- Vietnam: -$97.2 billion
- Germany: -$73.1 billion
- Japan: -$64.4 billion
- Ireland: -$60.5 billion
- Canada: -$58.7 billion
- Taiwan: -$43.8 billion
- Malaysia: -$42.7 billion
- Italy: -$41.3 billion
Among America’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, US deficits with Canada (up 168.1%), Taiwan (up 35.8%), Italy (up 32.9%), Vietnam (up 32.7%), Malaysia (up 29.3%), Germany (up 21.9%) and mainland China (up 17.6%) grew by double-digits from 2020 to 2021.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate America’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for United States to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating Greatest US Trade Surpluses
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
United States incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Hong Kong: US$25.7 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Netherlands: $17.3 billion
- Brazil: $14 billion
- Australia: $13.65 billion
- Belgium: $12.1 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $10.9 billion
- Panama: $7.5 billion
- Singapore: $5.9 billion
- United Kingdom: $4 billion
- Dominican Republic: $3.9 billion
The greatest increases in US trade surpluses from 2020 to 2021 were at the expense of Belgium (up 92.9%), Dominican Republic (up 80.1%), Hong Kong (up 62%), Australia (up 56.8%), Panama (up 51.8%) and Brazil (up 39.2%).
In addition, America’s $5.9 billion surplus trading with Singapore resulted from a reversal from a -$4.2 billion deficit one year earlier in 2020.
US trade surpluses shrank with the United Kingdom (down -45.1% year over year) and United Arab Emirates (down -5.6%).
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate America’s competitive advantages with the above countries, and also represent key opportunities for United States to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Exports Companies Servicing American Trading Partners
According to JOC.com, the following were the top US companies that shipped products from United States to its importing partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the American business specializes in.
- DeLong (animal feed, grain)
- Denison International (recyclable paper)
- DuPont (diversified chemicals)
- International Paper (paper, packaging)
- Koch Industries (recovered wastepaper, plastic scrap, animal feeds)
- MeadWestvaco/RockTenn (paper, packaging)
- Newport CH International (recycled paper, metals, plastics)
- Potential Industries (paper for recycling)
- Sims Metal Management (recycled metals, electronics)
See also United States Top 10 Imports, United States Top 10 Exports, Top United States Trade Balances, America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 100 Consumer Product Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 9, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 9, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 9, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 9, 2022
JOC.com, Top 100 US Exporters. Accessed on April 9, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on April 9, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of United States. Accessed on April 9, 2022