Texas is America’s number one exporter by state ahead of California, New York and Washington. The value of Texas’ exports equals 19.5% of the United States’ overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Texas’ exported products represent 15.1% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product for 2020. The latter real dollar values were expressed in 2009 chained dollars, according to the BEA.
Given the population of 29.5 million Texans in 2020, the total $279.3 billion in 2020 Texan exports translates to roughly $9,470 for every resident in the Lone Star State. That per-capita metric is down significantly from $11,400 one year earlier.
Per YCharts, the unemployment rate for Texas was 6.8% at January 2021 almost double the 3.5% jobless percentage as of December 2019.
Texas’ Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Texas global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Texas.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Crude petroleum oils: US$43.5 billion (15.6% of total Texan exports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $18.3 billion (6.6%)
- Light petroleum oils: $17 billion (6.1%)
- Integrated circuits (processors/controllers): $10.5 billion (3.8%)
- Liquified propane: $9.4 billion (3.4%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $6.1 billion (2.2%)
- Computer parts and accessories: $5.9 billion (2.1%)
- Machinery for making semi-conductors: $4.6 billion (1.7%)
- Natural gas (liquid): $4.3 billion (1.5%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $3.9 billion (1.4%)
The top 10 exports from Texas accounted for 44.4% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Liquid natural gas represents the fastest grower among the top 10 Texan export categories, up by 150.5% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales was machinery for making semi-conductors which rose 20.6%. Third-fastest was a 15.9% gain for process and controllers of integrated circuits exported from Texas, well ahead of the 10% improvement in international sales for natural gas in its gaseous state.
Leading the decliners among Texas’ top 10 export products year over year were aircraft including engines and other parts (down -41.3%), computer parts and accessories (down -39.6%) and miscellaneous petroleum oils (down -26.8%).
Overall, Texas generated a $31.3 billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 24.8% year-over-year expansion from $25.1 billion in black ink one year earlier 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 the top 10 products imported by Texas, highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2020.
- Crude petroleum oils: $16.2 billion (6.5% of total Texan imports)
- Digital processing units (individual components): $13.8 billion (5.6%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $8.9 billion (3.6%)
- Cell phones: $8.7 billion (3.5%)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $8.3 billion (3.4%)
- Integrated circuits (processors/controllers): $7.2 billion (2.9%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $6.9 billion (2.8%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $5.1 billion (2.1%)
- Wirings (vehicle, aircraft): $4.1 billion (1.7%)
- Automobiles (both internal combustion/electrical engine): $3.4 billion (1.4%)
As for trade balances by product, Texas has highly negative net exports in the international trade of electronics processing components, automobiles and cellphones. These negative cashflows indicate comparative competitive disadvantages for Texas under these product categories showing the impact of foreign goods on the state’s global balance sheet.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased 69% worth of the total value of products exported from Texas during 2020.
- Mexico $89 billion (31.9% of total Texan exports)
- Canada $23.2 billion (8.3%)
- China $17.5 billion (6.3%)
- South Korea $12.5 billion (4.5%)
- Brazil $10.1 billion (3.6%)
- Japan $9.9 billion (3.6%)
- Netherlands $9 billion (3.2%)
- United Kingdom $7.8 billion (2.8%)
- Taiwan $7.7 billion (2.8%)
- India $6.9 billion (2.5%)
The top customers for Texan exports located in North America represent under half (40.2%) of the overall value of goods shipped from the Lone Star State and were purchased on international markets during 2020.
Texas Export Companies
Fifty-one of Texas-headquartered corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Selected examples are listed below.
- Exxon Mobil (oil, gas)
- Phillips 66 (oil refining)
- Valero Energy (oil, gas)
- AT&T Inc (telecommunications)
- ConocoPhillips (oil, gas)
- Dell (computers)
- Energy Transfer Equity (oil, gas)
- Sysco Corp (food products)
- Tesoro Corp (refined oils)
- National Oilwell Varco (oilfield equipment)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related product category in which each business deals.
The capital city for Texas is Austin, nicknamed the “Live Music Capital of the World”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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