Virginia’s biggest export in 2020 was non-agglomerated bituminous coal accounting for 9.2% of the state’s aggregated exports revenue. In addition to coal, the state’s other top 3 exports were memories for electronic integrated circuits and soya beans representing a combined 18.8% of the state’s total. Those commodities suggest a relatively diversified range of exported goods.
Virginia ranks among America’s 25 biggest exporters by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Louisiana. The value of Virginia’s exports equals 1.1% of United States’ overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Virginia’s exported products represent 3% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product ($551.8 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics). That percentage compares with 3.4% one year earlier.
Given Virginia’s population of 8.633 million people, its total $16.4 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $1,900 for every resident in the Old Dominion state.
Virginia’s unemployment rate was 5.1% at March 2021, down from 11.3% in April 2020 per YCharts.
Virginia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Virginia global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Virginia.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Coal (non-agglomerated, bituminous): US$1.5 billion (9.2% of Virginia’s total exports)
- Integrated circuits (memories):: $827 million (5%)
- Soya beans: $751 million (4.6%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $438 million (2.7%)
- Office machine parts and accessories: $371 million (2.3%)
- Pork cuts (frozen): $257 million (1.6%)
- Kraft paper, paperboard: $232 million (1.4%)
- Solid residues including soya bean oil-cake: $210 million (1.3%)
- Artificial filament of cellulose acetate: $206 million (1.3%)
- Semi-trailer road tractors: $205 million (1.2%)
Virginia’s top 10 exports accounted for 30.6% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Frozen pork cuts represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 179.3% from 2019 to 2020. In second place were soya beans exported from Virginia thanks to a 53.6% increase. Memories for integrated circuits accelerated by 19.2% year over year.
The severest decliners among Virginia’s top 10 export products were semi-trailer road tractors (down -59.2%), non-agglomerated bituminous coal (down -24.1%) and aircraft including engines and parts (down -23.6%).
More Key Facts
Virginia incurred an overall -$12.5 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 2.8% year-over-year increase from -$12.2 billion in red ink in 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 Virginia’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2020.
- Office machine parts and accessories: $2.4 billion (8.3% of Virginia’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $1 billion (3.5%)
- Digital processing units (individual components): $944 million (3.3%)
- Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, doll carriages): $587 million (2%)
- Small portable digital computers: $414 million (1.4%)
- Miscellaneous textile items: $371 million (1.3%)
- Water including mineral/aerated water: $303 million (1%)
- Solar power semi-conductors, photovoltaic cells: $276 million (1%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $213 million (0.7%)
- Floor, wall or ceiling polymer coverings: $211 million (0.7%)
Virginia has highly negative net exports in the international trade of office machine parts and accessories and components that comprise digital processing units. In turn, these cashflows indicate Virginia’s competitive disadvantages under these product categories.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased almost three-fifths (58%) worth of the total value of products exported from Virginia during 2020.
- Canada: $2.7 billion (16.5% of Virginia’s total exports)
- China: $1.8 billion (11.3%)
- Mexico: $832 million (5.1%)
- United Kingdom: $698 million (4.3%)
- Singapore: $636 million (3.9%)
- Germany: $632 million (3.8%)
- Taiwan: $590 million (3.6%)
- Brazil: $526 million (3.2%)
- Netherlands: $522 million (3.2%)
- Belgium: $512 million (3.1%)
Virginia’s top trade partners in North America (Canada and Mexico) purchased over one-fifth (21.6%) of the overall value of exported goods from the state commonly called “Old Dominion”. In comparison, 18.8% worth originated from Virginia’s major customers in Asia (China, Singapore, Taiwan).
Virginia Export Companies
Thirty-six of Virginia-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Selected examples are listed below.
- NewMarket Corp (petroleum additives)
- Universal Corp (tobacco products)
- Beacon Roofing Supply (building supplies)
- CACI International Inc (technology, professional services)
- Orbital ATK Inc (aerospace, defense industry products)
- Huntington Ingalls Industries (ships,submarines, aircraft carriers)
- Advance Auto Parts (auto parts, accessories)
- Computer Sciences Corp (technology, professional services)
- Performance Food Group (food products, snacks)
- Altria Group (tobacco products)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business sells.
Virginia’s capital is Richmond, a city nicknamed “RVA”, “The River City” and “Capital of the South”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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