Year over year, the overall value of goods exported from the U.S. gained 17.6% compared to $1.754 trillion for 2021.
During the first 9 months of 2023, the United States of America exported $1.508 trillion worth of goods via international markets. The resulting $2.01 trillion full-year projection suggests that the U.S. is on track for a -2.5% year-over-year decline in 2023 compared to 2022.
Please note that the rest of this article focuses on statistics for the full year of 2022.
America’s 5 biggest export products by value in 2021 were refined petroleum oils, crude oil, petroleum gases, cars and electronic integrated circuits. In aggregate, those major exported goods accounted for 22.2% of overall exports sold by the United States. That percentage suggests a diversified range of exported goods, albeit 3 of America’s top exports are energy commodities.
The United States ranks among world-leading nations for exporting refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases and cars.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 68% of products exported from the US were bought by importers in: Canada (17.2% of the global total), Mexico (15.7%), mainland China (7.5%), Japan (3.9%), United Kingdom (3.7%), Germany (3.5%), Netherlands (3.5%), South Korea (also 3.5%), Brazil (2.6%), India (2.3%), France (also 2.3%) and Singapore (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 33% of exports from the United States by value was delivered to its fellow North American trade partners Canada and Mexico. A smaller 30% was sold to Asian importers with another 23% worth of goods going to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (10.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Oceania (1.7%) led by Australia and New Zealand, then Africa (1.5%).
Given America’s population of 330 million people at October 2022, its total $2.061 trillion in revenues from exports in 2022 translates to roughly $6,200 for every U.S. resident. That metric compares with an average $5,300 for 2021.
United States Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in American global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the United States.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$378.6 billion (18.4% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $229.6 billion (11.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $197.7 billion (9.6%)
- Vehicles: $134.9 billion (6.5%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $102.8 billion (5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $99.1 billion (4.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $92.5 billion (4.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $83.5 billion (4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $83.3 billion (4%)
- Organic chemicals: $51.1 billion (2.5%)
America’s top 10 exports equal 70.4% of the overall value of U.S. global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories year over year, up by 57.5% since 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was the organic chemicals category which rose 18.5%.
United States’ shipments of aircraft and spacecraft posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 14.9% year over year.
The most modest gain among America’s top 10 export categories was electrical machinery and equipment which improved 6.4%.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of America’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
America’s Major Food Exports
Calculated based on the overall $2.061 trillion worth of products shipped from the United States in 2022, food exports amounted to a subtotal $160.1 billion or 7.8% of US exported goods. That percentage is below the 8.4% for American global food shipments one year earlier.
The most valuable food category for American shippers was oil seeds, representing 25.1% of US international food sales. The oil seeds product category is led by US exports of soya beans.
In second place were exports of cereals equaling 19.7% of US food exports by value. The most valuable cereals exported from America are corn, wheat, grain sorghum and rice.
The other leading export product categories are meat (14.6% of total US exports) particularly beef, pork and chicken, then the fruits and nuts category (9.2%) including nuts and berries, apples and grapes.
Other leading US exported food categories are miscellaneous food preparations (6.5%), dairy, eggs and honey (4.9%), vegetable, fruit or nut preparations (3.4%), fish (3.2%), vegetables (3.1%), then cereal or milk preparations (3%).
Products Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for the United States
The following types of American product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Aircraft, spacecraft: US$75.7 billion (Up by 18.2% since 2021)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $55.9 billion (Up by 266.9%)
- Oil seeds: $36.7 billion (Up by 21.7%)
- Cereals: $28.2 billion (Up by 0.9%)
- Other chemical goods: $11.7 billion (Down by -21.8%)
- Meat: $10.4 billion (Up by 2.5%)
- Cotton: $9.7 billion (Up by 58.1%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $9.1 billion (Up by 8%)
- Woodpulp: $5.7 billion (Up by 5.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $4.9 billion (Down by -6.3%)
The United States has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft launching gear and other on-deck landing equipment. In turn, these cashflows indicate America’s strong competitive advantages under the aerospace-related products category.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for the United States
The U.S. incurred a -$1.313 trillion trade deficit for 2022, swelling by 11.2% from the -$1.181 trillion in red ink for all products one year earlier in 2021.
Below are product categories from the United States that are negative net exports or product trade balance deficits for 2021. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on American goods trail U.S. importer spending on foreign products.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$279.4 billion (Up by 21.7% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$246.3 billion (Up by 12.7%)
- Vehicles: -$194.8 billion (Up by 21.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$81.5 billion (Up by 13.9%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$76.6 billion (Up by 6.4%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$57.3 billion (Up by 16.4%)
- Toys, games: -$47.8 billion (Up by 6.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$41.9 billion (Up by 27.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$39.2 billion (Up by 36.8%)
- Footwear: -$36.6 billion (Up by 34.4%)
United States has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for electronics-related equipment, notably consumer electronics.
The resulting cashflow deficiency clearly exemplifies U.S. competitive disadvantages in the international electronics market, but also represents a key opportunity for United States to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations and creative employment initiatives in the homeland.
Major American Export Companies
Wikipedia lists many of the larger international trade players from the United States.
- AbbVie (pharmaceuticals)
- Apple (computer hardware)
- Boeing (aerospace)
- Chevron Corporation (oil, gas)
- Cisco Systems (communications equipment)
- ConocoPhillips (oil, gas)
- Eli Lilly and Company (pharmaceuticals)
- Exxon Mobil (oil, gas)
- Intel (semiconductors)
- Johnson & Johnson (medical equipment, supplies)
- Merck & Co (pharmaceuticals)
- Occidental Petroleum (oil, gas)
- PepsiCo (beverages)
- Pfizer (pharmaceuticals)
- Philip Morris International (tobacco)
- Procter & Gamble (household, personal care items)
- Qualcomm (semiconductors)
- Schlumberger (oil, gas)
- The Coca-Cola Company (beverages)
Searchable List of America’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from the United States during 2022. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease from 2021 to 2022 (labeled YOY).
|Rank||US Export Product||2022 Value (US$)||YOY|
|1||Processed petroleum oils||$135,405,081,000||+59%|
|6||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$43,182,191,000||-1.5%|
|9||Medication mixes in dosage||$34,618,611,000||+19.7%|
|11||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$33,651,504,000||+8.7%|
|12||Phone system devices||$33,387,953,000||+5.1%|
|13||Computers, optical readers||$28,562,164,000||+6.1%|
|14||Machinery for making semi-conductors||$26,821,528,000||+2.1%|
|18||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$17,263,148,000||+77%|
|20||Computer parts, accessories||$17,152,290,000||+6.6%|
|21||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$12,942,694,000||+14.8%|
|22||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$12,435,461,000||+11%|
|23||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$12,081,295,000||+14.8%|
|26||Other diagnostic/lab reagents||$11,416,012,000||+4.1%|
|27||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$10,727,943,000||+4%|
|31||Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)||$9,040,043,000||+59%|
|32||Precious metal waste, scrap||$9,026,866,000||-18.6%|
|33||Miscellaneous plastic items||$8,624,388,000||+10.3%|
|34||Liquid pumps and elevators||$8,557,573,000||+9.1%|
|36||Petroleum oil residues||$8,414,908,000||+66.3%|
|37||Unrecorded sound media||$8,250,743,000||+12%|
|38||Hand-drawn paintings, drawings||$8,194,412,000||+29.2%|
|39||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$8,153,315,000||+8.9%|
|42||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$7,555,640,000||+17.8%|
|43||Iron or steel scrap||$7,537,417,000||-1.2%|
|46||Electrical converters/power units||$7,180,959,000||+16.1%|
|48||Air or vacuum pumps||$6,902,647,000||+12.5%|
|49||Other measuring/testing machines||$6,900,688,000||+28%|
|50||Other food preparations||$6,828,284,000||-4.5%|
|52||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$6,646,453,000||+11.9%|
|54||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$6,305,211,000||+15%|
|56||Chemical industry products/residuals||$6,218,676,000||+8.9%|
|57||Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)||$6,064,771,000||+22.9%|
|58||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$5,998,501,000||+8.9%|
|59||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$5,981,965,000||+3.2%|
|60||Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers||$5,903,613,000||+6.4%|
|63||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$5,654,059,000||+10.4%|
|64||Aircraft or spacecraft parts||$5,605,251,000||#DIV/0!|
|65||Piston engine parts||$5,528,149,000||+9.8%|
|67||Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps||$5,434,396,000||+9.4%|
|70||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches||$5,337,311,000||+13.7%|
|71||Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues||$5,082,592,000||+14.4%|
|72||Rubber tires (new)||$4,946,815,000||+10.4%|
|73||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)||$4,944,740,000||+12.3%|
|75||Copper waste, scrap||$4,907,976,000||+9%|
|76||Vinyl chloride polymers||$4,892,905,000||+13%|
|78||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$4,765,067,000||+15.2%|
|82||Electric motors, generators||$4,561,219,000||-2%|
|84||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$4,382,206,000||+15.2%|
|85||Fresh or chilled beef||$4,380,539,000||-6.8%|
|87||Beet-pulp, brew/distilling waste||$4,192,700,000||+10.9%|
|88||Electric storage batteries||$4,138,184,000||+16.9%|
|90||Other organic cleaning preparations||$3,993,759,000||+7.9%|
|91||Liquid/gas checking instruments||$3,964,725,000||+12.9%|
|92||Uncoated kraft paper||$3,933,199,000||+18.2%|
|95||Aluminum waste, scrap||$3,889,350,000||+4.7%|
|98||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$3,725,863,000||+12%|
|99||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$3,659,878,000||+13.6%|
|100||Miscellaneous engines, motors||$3,637,015,000||+20.2%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$1.379 trillion or roughly two-thirds (66.9%) by value for all products exported from the U.S. during 2022.
In macroeconomic terms, the United States’ total exported goods represent 8.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product ($25.035 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity U.S. dollars). That 8.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 7.6% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for America’s total economic performance, at least in the short term.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its jobless rate. America’s unemployment rate published by the International Monetary Fund was 3.67% at October 2022, down from an average 5.431% jobless rate one year earlier.
Related Read: United States Top 100 Consumer Product Exports
See also United States Top 10 Imports, America’s Top Trading Partners, Top United States Trade Balances, America’s Top 20 Export States and United States Top 10 Major Export Companies and World’s Top Food Exports Special Data Report
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on November 23, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on November 23, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on November 23, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on November 23, 2023
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on November 23, 2023
SHIPHUB, HS Code for Food. Accessed on November 23, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of United States. Accessed on November 23, 2023