From a continental perspective, 32.7% of exports from the United States by value was delivered to its fellow North American trade partners while 32.4% worth was delivered to Asian importers.
Another 22.5% worth of goods arrived in Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (9%), Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (1.9%) then Africa (1.5%).
US Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of America’s top trading partners in terms of US export sales; that is, countries that imported the most American shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total American exports.
- Canada: US$255.1 billion (17.8% of total US exports)
- Mexico: $212.7 billion (14.9%)
- China: $124.6 billion (8.7%)
- Japan: $64.1 billion (4.5%)
- United Kingdom: $59 billion (4.1%)
- Germany: $57.8 billion (4%)
- South Korea: $51.2 billion (3.6%)
- Netherlands: $45.5 billion (3.2%)
- Brazil: $35 billion (2.4%)
- Taiwan: $30.5 billion (2.1%)
- France: $28.3 billion (2%)
- Belgium: $27.6 billion (1.9%)
- India: $27.4 billion (1.9%)
- Singapore: $27.1 billion (1.9%)
- Hong Kong: $24 billion (1.7%)
About three-quarters (74.8%) of American exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The sole increase in purchases of US exported goods from 2019 to 2020 among these top trading partners belongs to China via its 16.9% increase.
Leading the decliners were France (down -27%), Hong Kong (down -22.1%), Belgium (down -20.6%) and India (down -20.4%).
Overall, the US incurred a -$976.1 billion trade deficit for 2020, swelling by 5.7% from the -$923.2 billion in red ink for all products one year earlier in 2019.
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 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$332.5 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- Mexico: -$116.2 billion
- Vietnam: -$73.2 billion
- Germany: -$59.6 billion
- Japan: -$58.4 billion
- Switzerland: -$57.5 billion
- Ireland: -$56.2 billion
- Malaysia: -$32.8 billion
- Taiwan: -$32 billion
- Italy: -$31.1 billion
Among America’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, US deficits with Switzerland (up 109.1%), Taiwan (up 29.2%) and Vietnam (up 25.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
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.
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.
- Netherlands: US$17.3 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- Hong Kong: $16 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $11.5 billion
- Brazil: $10.6 billion
- Australia: $8.8 billion
- United Kingdom: $7.9 billion
- Belgium: $6.3 billion
- Panama: $5.1 billion
- Bahamas: $2.6 billion
- Egypt: $2.5 billion
Two among the above trading partners grew the amount of black ink the US generates, namely the United Kingdom (up 61.2%) and Egypt (up 12.3%).
Leading the decliners were Belgium (down -55.5%), Australia (down -40.9%), Hong Kong (down -38.5%), Panama (down -30.3%) and the United Arab Emirates (down -25.5%).
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.
Companies Servicing American Trading Partners
According to JOC.com, the following were the top US companies that shipped products from United States to its import partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the American business specializes in.
- Koch Industries (recovered wastepaper, plastic scrap, animal feeds)
- International Paper (paper, packaging)
- DeLong (animal feed, grain)
- Denison International (recyclable paper)
- DuPont (diversified chemicals)
- MeadWestvaco/RockTenn (paper, packaging)
- Sims Metal Management (recycled metals, electronics)
- Newport CH International (recycled paper, metals, plastics)
- Potential Industries (paper for recycling)
See also United States Top 10 Imports, United States Top 10 Exports, Top United States Trade Balances and America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 11, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 11, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 11, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 11, 2021
JOC.com, Top 100 US Exporters. Accessed on February 11, 2021
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on February 11, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of United States. Accessed on February 11, 2021