That dollar amount reflects a -31% decrease from $77.9 billion four years earlier in 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of Washington’s exports accelerated by 30.7% compared to $41.1 billion during 2020.
Looking ahead to 2022, the value of Washingtonian exports from January to August 2022 totaled $40.2 billion. The dollar sum for exports from Washington State is projected to be an annualized $60.3 billion, advancing 12.1% versus the $53.7 billion for 2021.
Washington ranks among America’s 10 most lucrative exporters by state, albeit well behind leaders including Texas and California. The value of Washington’s exports equals about 3.1% of United States’ overall exported products for 2021.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Washington’s exported products represent 8.1% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product ($667.6 billion in 2021).
Given Washington’s population of 7.739 million people in 2021, its $53.7 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $6,900 for every resident in the Evergreen State. That dollar metric far exceeds the average $5,400 one year earlier during 2020.
Washington State’s unemployment rate was 3.7% in August 2022, down from 5.6% in February 2021 per YCharts.
Washington’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Washington global shipments during 2021. 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$12.9 billion (24% of Washington’s total exports)
- Soya beans: $7.2 billion (13.4%)
- Corn: $3.8 billion (7.1%)
- Wheat (excluding durum): $2.6 billion (4.8%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $1.14 billion (2.1%)
- Soya bean flours, meals: $917.4 million (1.7%)
- Ultrasonic scanning equipment: $853.8 million (1.6%)
- Frozen potatoes: $837.1 million (1.6%)
- Iron waste, scrap: $641.3 million (1.2%)
- Rutabagas, similar forage products: $628 million (1.2%)
Washington’s top 10 exports represent almost three-fifths (58.7%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Corn was the fastest grower among Washington’s top 10 export categories, up by 125.6% from 2020 to 2021. In second place for improving export sales was iron waste and scrap which rose 92.2%. Aircraft either full or engines and other parts exported from Washington posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 60.7%.
Other double-digit gains were posted for exported miscellaneous petroleum oils (up 35.4%) and soya beans (up 35.1%).
There were a pair of declines year over year, specifically for Washington’s exported wheat and meslin (down -2.3%) and ultrasonic scanning equipment (down -1.4%).
More Key Facts about Washington’s International Trade
Overall, Washington State incurred a -$8 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2021. That dollar amount results from a 5.8% expansion from the -$7.6 billion deficit one year earlier in 2020.
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 2021.
- Crude petroleum oils: $6.6 billion (10.6% of Washington’s total imports)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $3.92 billion (6.3%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $3.89 billion (6.3%)
- Video game consoles, machinery: $2.03 billion (3.3%)
- Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, carriages): $1.98 billion (3.2%)
- Solid-state semiconductor storage devices: $1.22 million (2%)
- Miscellaneous sawn or chipped coniferous wood: $913.5 million (1.5%)
- Boiled or steamed crabs: $762.6 million (1.2%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $656.7 million (1.1%)
- Enriched uranium: $478.6 million (0.8%)
Washington has notably negative net exports in the international trade of crude petroleum oil and automobiles. In turn, these cashflows indicate Washington’s strong competitive global disadvantages under these product categories.
Washington State’s Major Trading Partners
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase three-quarters (75%) worth of the total value of products exported from Washington during 2021.
- China: $12.1 billion (22.4% of Washington’s total exports)
- Canada: $7.74 billion (14.4%)
- Japan: $5.2 billion (9.7%)
- South Korea: $2.87 billion (5.3%)
- Mexico: $2.85 billion (5.3%)
- Philippines: $1.84 billion (3.4%)
- United Kingdom: $1.82 billion (3.4%)
- Taiwan: $1.8 billion (3.3%)
- Ireland: $1.51 billion (2.8%)
- Germany: $1.27 billion (2.4%)
Washington’s top trade partners in Asia (mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan) imported 44.2% of the overall value of exported goods from the Evergreen State.
That percentage for Asia compares with 15% of Washington State’s export sales to its North American trade partners Canada and Mexico.
Washingtonian Export Companies
Ten of Washington-headquartered corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Selected examples are listed below.
- Alaska Air Group (airliner)
- Amazon.com (global e-commerce, cloud computing)
- Expeditors International (freight forwarding, customs brokerage)
- Microsoft Corporation (software, technology products)
- Paccar (commercial vehicles, auto parts)
- Weyerhaeuser (forest products)
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 Ohio’s Top 10 Exports, Alabama’s Top 10 Exports, Oregon’s Top 10 Exports, Louisiana’s Top 10 Exports and Tennessee’s Top 10 Exports
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FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on October 20, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 20, 2022
GeoLounge, Fortune 500 List by State. Accessed on October 20, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 20, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 20, 2022
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USA Trade Online, Official Source of Trade Statistics. Accessed on October 20, 2022
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World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Olympia, United States. Accessed on October 20, 2022
YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on October 20, 2022