Leading Exports and ImportsThe US foreign trade makes almost five trillion dollars a year with a balanced correlation of export and import. As such it is the third world’s largest exporter. The first two are China and the EU (Amadeo, 2016).

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According to the experts’ estimations, the total US export made 2.23 trillion dollars in 2015. The major part of export is composed by material goods that can be subdivided into two large categories: capital goods and industrial supplies and equipment. The former group comprises commercial aircraft, electric apparatus, telecommunications, industrial machines, and medical equipment that are relatively equally distributed within the group in terms of value. The latter group, in its turn, includes chemicals, non-monetary gold, plastic, petroleum products, and fuel oil. Within this group, chemicals and petroleum products can be considered the most significant in terms of their value opposite to other products. The share of consumer goods is almost three times smaller than that of the capital goods. Consumer goods mainly comprise pharmaceutical, diamonds, and cell phones. They likewise involve automobiles and foods that contribute about 10% to the general export each. Apart from material goods, the USA also exports services such as transportation, military, and private services (Amadeo. 2016).

Despite the fact that the USA is one of the leading world’s exporters its import is still larger than its export. The major part of the importing goods is composed by crude oil. In 2014, the total value of the imported crude oil made almost 250 billion dollars. The next two large groups of imported groups are household goods including cellphones and pharmaceutical preparations. The value of each type of goods makes about 100 billion dollars a year. The last two leading groups within the US import are computers and telecommunication equipment that are valued at about 58-64 billion dollars each (Pew Research Center, 2015).

Important Trading Partners
While speaking about the major US trading partners, it appears to be rational to divide them into import and export partners. As such, the top ten export partners, as assessed by 2015, are Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Belgium (Top U.S. Trade Partners, 2015). It is essential to note that two years earlier the list would likewise include Brazil and South Korea (Top Trading Partners, 2013). The top ten import group is slightly different. As such, as assessed by 2015, this group comprises such countries as China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, South Korea, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, and India (Top U.S. Trade Partners, 2015). From this perspective, it is useful to review the statistics of 2013 which shows that the top import group comprised almost the same set of countries except for Italy which is absent from the updated list (Top Trading Partners, 2013). Experts point out the changes that occurred to the US trading balance after the Great Recession. As such, it might be seen that poor countries such as Mexico have managed to strengthen their position as trading partners, while wealthier states such as Canada and Germany would vice versa lose their significance. It is assumed that the phenomenon might be explained by a rapid increase in the per capita income in Mexico and China after the Great Recession (Monge-Naranjo, 2013).

According to experts’ opinion, a particular emphasis should be put on the strengthening trade relationships between China and the USA. As such, China has to become the main importer for the USA outrunning Canada that has historically taken the leading positions in the import group. The phenomenon might be partially explained by the fluctuations in the world’s market. Putting it more specifically, the recent decline in the crude oil prices has decreased the value of Canada’s contribution since it is the major good it exports to the USA (Chang, 2015).

Biggest Trade Deficits and Surpluses
As assessed by 2013, the top ten countries that have trade surpluses with the USA are Hong Kong, Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Belgium, Panama, Chile, and Argentina. The deficit ten top group has another members including China, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, and India (Top Trading Partners, 2013). According to the latest statistics, the US trading deficit keeps increasing. As such, it has increased by almost 10% within the past year making 36.44 billion dollars (United States Balance of Trade, 2016).

In this frame, experts point out the trading deficit is not associated with the general trading policy that the country pursues. Instead, it mainly depends on the investment flow. In this view, many experts tend to accuse China in the increase in the US trade deficit. However, the problem seems to be more complicated. Bown, Crowly, McCulloch, and Nakajima (2005) explain that it is irrational to assess the role of a country in the deficit balance by analyzing the general export-import statistics. Instead, it is essential to review the flow of particular goods. Additionally, the US trade deficit depends largely on the country’s FTA agreements. The USA has two major groups of FTA agreements. The first group comprises NAFTA and Israel. The second group includes agreements entered in 2002 including FTAs with such countries as Australia, Chile, Oman, Singapore, and Bahrain, to name but a few (Grossman & Carlson, 2009). Looking back at the ten top deficit group it might be easily noticed that none of these countries in included. It provides a certain clue to understanding the impact that FTAs have on a country’s trade balance.

  • Amadeo, K. (2016). U.S. exports: Top categories, challenges, opportunities. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-exports-top-categories-challenges-opportunities-3306282
  • Bown, C. P., Crowley, M. A., McCulloch, R., & Nakajima, D. J. (2005). The U.S. trade deficit: Made in China? Retrieved from http://people.brandeis.edu/~rmccullo/wp/China1105.pdf
  • Chang, S. (2015, November 9). China passes Canada to become U.S.’s largest trading partner. Market Watch. Retrieved from http://www.marketwatch.com/
  • Grossman, N., & Carlson, D. (2009). How do FTAs affect the U.S. trade balance? Retrieved from https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/FTAs_USTradeBalance.pdf
  • Monge-Naranjo, A. (2013). Major U.S. trading partners before and after the Great Recession. Retrieved from https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/economic-synopses/2013/09/25/major-u-s-trading-partners-before-and-after-the-great-recession/
  • Pew Research Center. (2015). With trade on Congress’ agenda, just what does the U.S. import and export? Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/18/just-what-does-the-u-s-import-and-export/ft_15-05-18_trade_310px/
  • Top Trading Partners. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/top/top1312yr.html
  • Top U.S. Trade Partners. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/build/groups/public/@tg_ian/documents/webcontent/tg_ian_003364.pdf
  • United States Balance of Trade. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/balance-of-trade