Washington ranks among America’s 5 biggest exporters by state well behind leaders Texas and California. The value of Washington’s exports equals about 2.9% of United States’ overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Washington’s exported products represent 6.5% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product forecasted for 2020 ($638 billion in nominal dollars at current prices).
Given Washington’s population of 7.656 million people in 2020, its $41.3 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $5,400 for every resident in the Evergreen State.
Washington’s unemployment rate was 5.6% in February 2021, up from 4.3% at December 2019 per YCharts.
Washington’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Washington global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Washington.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Aircraft including engines, parts: US$8 billion (19.4% of Washington’s total exports)
- Soya beans: $5.4 billion (13%)
- Wheat (excluding durum): $2.6 billion (6.4%)
- Corn: $1.7 billion (4.1%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $0.9 billion (2.2%)
- Soya bean flours, meals: $885 million (2.1%)
- Ultrasonic scanning equipment: $866 million (2.1%)
- Frozen potatoes: $784 million (1.9%)
- Fresh apples: $637 million (1.5%)
- Rutabagas, similar forage products: $488 million (1.2%)
Washington’s top 10 exports represent 53.9% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Soya beans was the fastest grower among Washington’s top 10 export categories, up by 28.8% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales was corn which rose 26.9%. Soya bean flours and meals shipped from Washington posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 23.1%.
Posting double-digit declines year over year were Washington’s exports of aircraft including engines and other parts (down -68.5%), miscellaneous petroleum oils (down -48.1%), fresh apples (down -12.9%) and frozen potatoes (down -11.3%).
More Key Facts
Overall, Washington incurred a -$7.6 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reverses $7.5 billion surplus one year earlier 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 Washington’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2020.
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $4.2 billion (8.5% of Washington’s total imports)
- Crude petroleum oils: $3.5 billion (7.2%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $2.1 billion (4.3%)
- Video game consoles, machinery: $2 billion (4%)
- Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, doll carriages): $1.5 billion (3%)
- Solid-state semiconductor storage devices: $1,241 million (2.5%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $761 million (1.6%)
- Boiled or steamed crabs: $645 million (1.3%)
- Miscellaneous sawn or chipped coniferous wood: $564 million (1.2%)
- Miscellaneous textile articles: $561 million (1.1%)
Washington has notably negative net exports in the international trade of automobiles and crude oil In turn, these cashflows indicate Washington’s strong competitive global disadvantages under these product categories.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase three-quarters (75%) worth of the total value of products exported from Washington during 2020.
- China $9.1 billion (22.1% of Washington’s total exports)
- Canada $6.3 billion (15.2%)
- Japan $4.8 billion (11.7%)
- South Korea $1.9 billion (4.6%)
- Philippines $1.7 billion (4.1%)
- Turkey $1.6 billion (3.9%)
- United Kingdom $1.5 billion (3.6%)
- Germany $1.42 billion (3.4%)
- Taiwan $1.37 billion (3.3%)
- Mexico $1.28 billion (3.1%)
Washington’s top trade partners in Asia consumed 45.8% of the overall value of exported goods from the Evergreen State. This compares with 18.3% for Washington state’s exports to its North American trade partners Canada and Mexico.
Washington Export Companies
Ten of Washington-headquartered corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Selected examples are listed below.
- Paccar (commercial vehicles, auto parts)
- Weyerhaeuser (forest products)
- Microsoft Corporation (software, technology products)
- Expeditors International (freight forwarding, customs brokerage)
- Alaska Air Group (airliner)
- Amazon.com (global e-commerce, cloud computing)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services category in which each business sells.
Washington’s capital is Olympia, a city nicknamed “Oly” and “O-Town”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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