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Foreign trade figures of the United States

Foreign Trade in Figures

The U.S. is the world's largest importer and second-largest exporter of goods, as well as the largest importer and exporter of commercial services. Nevertheless, trade represents only 25% of the country’s GDP (World Bank). The U.S. signed 14 reciprocal free trade agreements, 5 preferential trade programs, 51 trade and investment framework agreements, and 48 bilateral investment treaties (LOC). U.S. top exports in 2022 were refined petroleum oils (6.6%) and gases (5.7%), followed by crude oil (4.7%), cars (2.8%), and electronic integrated circuits (2.5%), whereas imports in the same year included petroleum oils (6.1%), cars (5%), automatic data processing machines (3.8%), phone system devices (3.7%), and medicaments (2.7% - data Comtrade).

The country's main export partners in 2022 were Canada (17.2%), Mexico (15.7%), China (7.5%), Japan (3.9%), the United Kingdom (3.7 %), the Netherlands (3.5%), and Germany (3.5%); whereas imports came chiefly from China (17.1%), Mexico (13.6%), Canada (13.2%), Japan (4.6%), Germany (4.5%), and Vietnam (4% - data Comtrade). Historically, the U.S. has taken the view that trade promotes economic growth, social stability, democracy and better international relations. However, in recent years the trend has reversed, with the insurgence of several trade disputes (particularly with China, accused of unfair trade practices). Trade relations between the U.S. and China finally started to normalize towards the end of Trump’s presidency, with the two countries signing the U.S.–China Phase One trade deal in Washington. Nevertheless, trade relations did not improve much during Biden’s presidency.

The U.S. trade balance is structurally negative and the trade deficit has further widened in recent years: in 2022 it stood at an estimated 3.7% of current-dollar gross domestic product, up from 3.6% in 2021 (data Bureau of Economic Analysis). In the same year, exports of goods increased to USD 2,064 billion, up by 17.6% year-on-year; with imports increasing at a similar pace (+15% - at USD 3,375 billion - WTO). Despite being a net importer of goods, the U.S. are a net exporter of services: in 2022, services exports totalled USD 928.5 billion (+15.9% y-o-y) against USD 696.7 billion in imports (+24.5% y-o-y – WTO). According to preliminary figures from the Census Bureau, exports of goods totalled USD 1,851 billion in 2023, whereas imports stood at USD 2,834 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 2,614,2212,567,4452,406,9322,935,3143,375,819
Exports of Goods (million USD) 1,663,9821,643,1611,424,9351,754,3002,064,278
Imports of Services (million USD) 565,395593,313466,301559,205696,707
Exports of Services (million USD) 865,549891,177726,296801,143928,530

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 27.626.523.425.5n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -878,748-857,259-912,878-1,083,510-1,183,011
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -578,600-559,394-652,885-841,580-951,187
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.21.1-9.014.1n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.80.5-13.26.1n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 15.214.613.214.6n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 12.411.910.210.9n/a

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 1.6-0.22.62.92.9
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -2.8-0.11.62.42.4

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
The United States is a member of the following international economic organisations: G-7, G-10, G-20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), WTO, IMF, OECD, ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the United States click here. International organisation membership of the United States is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by the United States can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Canada 17.2%
Mexico 15.7%
China 7.5%
Japan 3.9%
United Kingdom 3.7%
See More Countries 52.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 17.1%
Mexico 13.6%
Canada 13.2%
Japan 4.6%
Germany 4.5%
See More Countries 47.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

2,062.1 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 6.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.7%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.8%
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 2.5%
See More Products 77.8%
3,372.9 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 6.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.0%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.8%
Automatic data-processing machines and units...Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 3.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.7%
See More Products 78.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: April 2024