Petroleum gases, soya beans, refined petroleum oils, corn, machinery for making semi-conductors, and gold are potential counterbalancing drivers behind the highest positive trade balances for the United States during 2021.
America enjoyed the highest per-country trade surpluses in 2021 at the expense of Hong Kong, Netherlands, Brazil, Australia and Belgium. The greatest amounts of red ink result from US trade with China, Mexico and Vietnam.
Products Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for the United States
The following 10 leading products generated a surplus subtotal of $186.6 billion for US in its global trade during 2021. Metrics listed below highlight US’s strongest competitive advantages over worldwide trading partners by product.
- Petroleum gases: US$53.3 billion (Reversing a -$1.4 billion in 2014)
- Soya beans: $27.1 billion (Up 19.3% from 2014)
- Processed petroleum oils: $20.8 billion (Down -32.6%)
- Corn: $18.8 billion (Up 78.8%)
- Machinery for making semi-conductors: $17.2 billion (Up 647.2%)
- Gold (unwrought): $13.8 billion (Up 83.2%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $11.6 billion (Up 143.1%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $9.2 billion (Up 23.1%)
- Ethylene polymers: $7.6 billion (Up 132.9%)
- Miscellaneous nuts: $7.2 billion (Up 6.3%)
- Wheat: $6.9 billion (Up 1.9%)
America’s exported petroleum gases went from -$1.4 billion in red ink in 2014 to a significant surplus for 2021.
Among categories that increased by positive percentage amounts, integrated electronic circuits or microassemblies (up 143.1% since 2014), ethylene polymers (up 132.9%), gold (up 83.2%), corn (up 78.8%) then coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 23.1%) improved at the fastest rate over the latest 7-year period.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for the United States
The 10 major products below accumulated a deficit subtotal of -$525.9 billion for the US in international trade for 2021. America has demonstrated the severest competitive disadvantages in the exports and imports of the following commodities.
- Cars: -US$93.5 billion (Down -1.3% since 2014)
- Computers, optical readers: -$91.4 billion (Up 65.1%)
- Phone system devices including smartphones: -$79.8 billion (Up 28.1%)
- Crude oil: -$69 billion (Down -71.3%)
- Medication mixes in dosage: -$55.5 billion (Up 80.1%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: -$38.4 billion (Up 83.5%)
- Miscellaneous furniture: -$29.2 billion (Up 73.6%)
- Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs): -$26.4 billion (Up 53.4%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: -$24.5 billion (Up 7.2%)
- Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys: -$18.3 billion (Up 55.9%)
America’s red ink in global trade expanded over the 7-year period at the fastest rate for the following products: automobile parts and accessories (up 83.5%), medication mixes in dosage (up 80.1%), miscellaneous furniture (up 73.6%) and computers including optical readers (up 65.1%).
Countries Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for the United States
In 2021, the US generated a surplus subtotal worth $115 billion with the following 10 trading partners.
- Hong Kong: US$25.7 billion (Down -26.1% since 2014)
- Netherlands: $17.3 billion (Down -19.4%)
- Brazil: $14 billion (Up 29.7%)
- Australia: $13.6 billion (Down -13.2%)
- Belgium: $12.1 billion (Down -9.5%)
- United Arab Emirates: $10.9 billion (Down -43.2%)
- Panama: $7.5 billion (Down -25.2%)
- Singapore: $5.9 billion (Down -56.3%)
- United Kingdom: $4 billion (Reversing a -$1.5 billion deficit)
- Dominican Republic: $3.9 billion (Up 18.7%)
From 2014 to 2021 and on a percentage basis, US surpluses increased trading with Brazil (up 29.7%) and the Dominican Republic (up 18.7%).
In addition, America went from over a billion-dollar trade deficit with the UK in 2014 to a multi-billion dollar surplus in 2021.
Countries Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for the United States
America experienced a money-losing international trade relationship with over 100 countries, islands and territories. The following 10 trade partners created a collective -$984.1 billion deficit subtotal in 2021 from buying and selling exported and imported goods.
- China: -US$390.5 billion (Up 7.7% since 2014)
- Mexico: -$111.9 billion (Up 97.7%)
- Vietnam: -$97.2 billion (Up 270.1%)
- Germany: -$73.1 billion (Down -4.5%)
- Japan: -$64.4 billion (Down -8.9%)
- Ireland: -$60.5 billion (Up 130.1%)
- Canada: -$58.7 billion (Up 40.5%)
- Taiwan: -$43.8 billion (Up 185.4%)
- Malaysia: -$42.7 billion (Up 136.5%)
- Italy: -$41.3 billion (Up 56.5%)
Leading growth in the percentage size of America’s country-specific deficits since 2014 were Vietnam (up 270.1%), Taiwan (up 185.4%), Malaysia (up 136.5%), Ireland (up 130.1%) and Mexico (up 97.7%).
See also United States Top 10 Imports, America’s Top Trading Partners, United States Top 10 Exports 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 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
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on April 9, 2022