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America's Top Exports: What You Need to Know About U.S. Export Market

When we think about the United States, we often picture it as a land of big brands, technology giants, and vast farms. 

And you’re right if you think these play a huge role in what America sends to other countries. 

This article will take you through what the U.S. exports the most, why these industries matter, and how they fit into the world market. 

Whether you’re a student, a business pro, or just curious, this overview is for you. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!

Overview of the U.S. Export Market or America’s Top Exports 

america's top exports

Source: Pexels

The United States is not only a powerhouse of consumer culture but also a leading exporter on the global stage. 

With a wide array of products and services reaching every corner of the globe, the U.S. export market is at the center of trade relationships that sustain economic growth and drive innovation. 

From cutting-edge technology to agricultural products, the diversity of U.S. exports demonstrates the flexibility of the country’s economy.

Major goods that the US sells to other countries include refined oil ($138 billion), crude oil ($118 billion), natural gas ($116 billion), automobiles ($57.5 billion), and computer chips ($49.8 billion). Its largest trading partners were Canada ($308 billion), Mexico ($294 billion), China ($151 billion), Japan ($79.5 billion), and the UK ($75.4 billion).

According to OEC, in 2022, the US was the number one supplier of refined oil ($138 billion), medical devices ($33.3 billion), gas turbines ($32.5 billion), aircraft and spacecraft ($27.6 billion), and corn ($19.3 billion) to the rest of the world.

List and Analysis of Key Export Industries

In 2020, America’s top exports reached over $1.3 trillion in goods, ranking it second globally in export volume. Refined petroleum was the country’s highest export at $58.4 billion, yet aircraft were the leading export in 14 states, surpassing any other type of goods exported. 

An infographic by OnDeck highlights America’s top exports state by state, utilizing data from the U.S. Census Bureau as of January 2022.

America's top exports infographics

Source: VisualCapitalist

1. Technology and Innovation

The technology sector is among America’s top exports. Products such as semiconductors, aircraft, and automobiles not only represent a large portion of US exports but also highlight the country’s leadership in innovation and manufacturing. 

According to the Gitnux Marketdata Report, by the end of 2021, the projected market value of the U.S. technology sector is expected to reach $1.6 trillion. Additionally, it will employ 12.2 million people, constituting 7.9% of the overall U.S. workforce and contributing 10.5% to the nation’s GDP.

2. Agriculture and Food Products

Another vital component of the U.S. export economy is the agriculture sector. The United States is one of the world’s largest exporters of food products, including soybeans, corn, and beef. 

This sector’s success is attributed to the country’s vast arable land, advanced farming techniques, and efficient supply chain infrastructure.

According to Reuters, the U.S. saw its highest-ever value in exports of farm and related products in 2022, although this was largely due to increased prices since the actual amounts of some key items like grain and meat were lower than the previous year. 

The value of agricultural exports reached $213 billion, beating the previous record of $192 billion in 2021. These exports made up a significant 7.1% of all U.S. exports for 2022, which totalled a record-breaking $3 trillion in goods and services.

3. Energy and Natural Resources

The US has also emerged as a key player in the global energy market, especially with its exports of natural gas and refined petroleum products. 

In 2020, the US exported more petroleum than it imported for the first time since records began in 1949. 

According to EIA, in 2022, the US shipped about 9.52 million barrels of petroleum daily and brought in about 8.33 million barrels, marking the third consecutive year as a net exporter of petroleum, with net exports reaching 1.19 million barrels per day. 

During the year, the US produced about 20.08 million barrels per day and used about 20.01 million barrels. 

Although the US exported more petroleum than it imported in 2020, 2021, and 2022, it still needed to import some crude oil.

US exports continue to evolve, influenced by a complex range of factors, from geopolitical shifts to increasing environmental concerns. 

These changes present both hurdles and opportunities for American businesses engaged in the global marketplace.

1. Trade Policies and Global Dynamics

In recent years, significant shifts in trade policies and international relations have been seen, impacting U.S. exports.

Trade wars, tariffs, and changing alliances have posed challenges and created opportunities for diversification and negotiation in new markets.

2. Sustainability and Innovation

Sustainability and environmental concerns are increasingly influencing global trade. The U.S. is at the forefront of incorporating green technologies and sustainable practices in its export sectors. This trend addresses global challenges and opens up new markets for American products.

Summary of America’s Top Exports

To summarize, America’s top exports demonstrate the country’s huge role in world trade, from leading the way in technology and agriculture to dominating the energy market. 

Although it faces challenges such as trade wars and the need for more environmentally friendly practices, the US continues to prove that it can adapt and maintain its position in the global market. 

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