Hawaii’s biggest export in 2020 was iron or steel scrap accounting for 13.2% of the state’s aggregated exports revenue. The state’s top 3 exports were iron or steel scrap, aircraft including engines and similar parts as well as miscellaneous aircraft parts representing 32.4% of the total. Those commodities suggest a relatively concentrated range of exported goods.
Hawaii is America’s smallest exporter by state well behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Louisiana. The value of Hawaii’s exports equals just 0.03% worth of United States’ overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Hawaii’s exported products equates to a tiny 0.3% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product one year earlier ($93.4 billion for 2020 based on current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Hawaii’s population of 1.414 million people, its total $320 million in 2020 exports translates to roughly $230 for every resident in the Aloha State.
Hawaii’s unemployment rate was 9% at March 2021, down from 21.9% in April 2020 per YCharts.
Hawaii’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Hawaii global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Hawaii.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Iron or steel scrap: US$42 million (13.2% of Hawaii’s total exports)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $31 million (9.7%)
- Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $30 million (9.5%)
- Cold-water shrimps, prawns: $22 million (7%)
- Aluminum waste, scrap: $14 million (4.4%)
- Unsweetened and non-flavored waters: $13 million (4.2%)
- Hand-drawn paintings, drawings: $11 million (3.6%)
- Specially designed instruments, apparatus: $9 million (2.9%)
- Jewelry articles clad in precious metal: $7 million (2.1%)
- Copper scrap: $7 million (2.1%)
Hawaii’s top 10 exports amounted to 58.7% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Hand-drawn paintings and drawings represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 175% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales were jewelry articles clad in precious metal, a product category which appreciated by 40%, ahead of Hawaii’s exported aluminum waste and scrap (up 27.3%) and iron or steel scrap (up 20%).
There were 3 year-over-year decliners among Hawaii’s top 10 export products. Exports of aircraft including engines and other parts dropped -38%, specially designed instruments and other apparatus fell -18.2% and unsweetened and non-flavored waters decreased in value by -7.1%.
More Key Facts
Overall, Hawaii incurred a -$1.6 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reflects a -51.5% annual reduction from -$3.3 billion in red ink for 2019.
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 Hawaii’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2020.
- Crude petroleum oils: $630 million (32.6% of Hawaii’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $201 million (10.4%)
- Light petroleum oils: $147 million (7.6%)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $93 million (4.8%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $58 million (3%)
- Liquified propane: $28 million (1.5%)
- Wood kitchen furniture excluding seats: $22 million (1.1%)
- Passenger vehicles (with internal combustion/electrical engine): $22 million (1.1%)
- Portland cement excluding white: $20 million (1%)
- Tuna, skipjack: $19 million (1%)
Hawaii has highly negative net exports in the international trade of petroleum oils, particularly unprocessed petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Hawaii’s competitive disadvantages under those product categories.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase four-fifths (80.1%) worth of the total value of products exported from Hawaii during 2020.
- Australia: $51 million (15.8% of Hawaii’s total exports)
- Japan: $46 million (14.5%)
- Bangladesh: $39 million (12.2%)
- Hong Kong: $37 million (11.5%)
- South Korea: $25 million (7.7%)
- Canada: $16 million (5.1%)
- Taiwan: $15 million (4.6%)
- India: $11 million (3.5%)
- Singapore: $8 million (2.6%)
- Vietnam: $8 million (2.6%)
Hawaii’s top trade partners in Asia consume almost three-fifths (59.2%) of the overall value of exported goods from the Aloha State.
Hawaii Export Companies
Two Hawaii-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Listed below are both firms that have their headquartered in Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu.
- Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (airliner for passengers, cargo)
- Hawaiian Electric Industries (electricity)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the products or services which in each business deals, some of which are international trade-related.
Hawaii’s capital is Honolulu, a city nicknamed “Crossroads of the Pacific” and “Sheltered Bay”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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