What is the Main Export of the United States?

Sadik Shaikh
10 Min Read
Aerial view of container cargo ship in sea.

In 2021, America exported $2.061 trillion worth of goods around the globe. Refined petroleum oils, crude oil, petroleum gases and cars topped this list of goods shipped around.

Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska all boast strong agriculture exports while Oregon’s semiconductor and computer component exports have seen rapid expansion.

1. Consumer Goods

Consumer goods (also referred to as final goods) are the final products manufactured and sold directly to consumers by businesses. Examples of consumer goods include microwave ovens, refrigerators and t-shirts. Consumer goods distinguish themselves from intermediate goods which serve as raw materials in producing final consumer goods; such as copper used to form trays, bowls or other containers which then become consumer goods sold to the general public.

Food, drink and feed make up roughly one third of America’s global exports and account for soy beans as its most valuable product. Corn, wheat, grain sorghum and rice also fall within this category and represent some of its fastest-growing categories – 37% growth since last year alone!

Other categories of consumer goods include durable and nondurable goods. Durable goods have an estimated lifecycle of three years or longer and should be used multiple times over their lifespan; nondurable goods typically have shorter shelf lives and consumers often spend less than they would on durable ones.

Convenience goods are one form of consumer goods. These include items that can easily be reached and purchased frequently, like toiletries and food. Meanwhile, specialty goods may be hard to come by or possess high price tags due to their rarity or unique qualities.

Canada (17.5%) and Mexico (15.8%), with Mexico as the primary purchaser in 2020. Oceania countries including Australia/New Zealand as well as Asia (11.9%) also buy significant volumes of American consumer goods. China was identified as having experienced 18% year-on-year growth during 2021.

2. Automobiles

The automobile, a four-wheeled motor vehicle designed to carry passengers, has revolutionized transportation. Thanks to this invention, city dwellers could access major and minor cities without relying solely on public transit; its production also created industries such as auto manufacturing as well as services like gas stations and convenience stores. As of 2019, more than 590 million cars exist worldwide with many American firms producing them.

Computer and electronic products make up the second-largest export from the US, valued at an estimated $176 billion. This industry benefits from China being now the global consumer for these types of goods.

In 2022, the top U.S. goods exported to China included oilseeds and grains, semiconductors and their componentry, oil and gas as well as intellectual property (patents and trademarks). Unfortunately, however, these figures don’t take into account this complex industry, because its hard to pinpoint exactly how much value an intellectual property asset generates in a foreign market and many variables affect the price.

The United States leads the world in services exports with a total of $926.0 billion annually, accounting for 92% of global services exports in 2022. Travel, education and financial services were its top exports around the globe while business services and insurance also contributed significantly. Ireland was Ireland’s primary buyer of U.S. services while other top five markets including United Kingdom, Canada Switzerland China all purchased these services from United States in 2022 – keeping this trend from occurring year-to-year.

3. Energy

America’s top exported products by value are energy commodities ranging from refined petroleum oils, automobiles and chemicals to crude oil and petroleum gases – with petroleum accounting for 22.2%. Other notable energy exports include natural gas/fuels/petroleum gases/integrated circuits etc.

State by state, America’s top exports in this category are diverse, spanning food and beverages to chemicals and semiconductors. Yet a deeper look reveals more insight into America’s global trade relationships; soybeans top Iowa and Indiana lists, while Michigan prioritizes auto parts & equipment exports and Oregon produces semi-conductors as their top sellers.

An in-depth examination of specific states shows that U.S. exports to China mainly consist of crops or raw materials; however, higher-value items like vehicles and aircraft have increased rapidly since 2010. Texas stands out as being especially large exporter to this Asian nation – they shipped more than $123 billion worth of goods over to it last year alone while shipping less than $20 billion each to Mexico, Canada and Japan respectively.

At the top of services exports worldwide, the US reigns supreme with sales to Ireland ($83.1 billion), UK (52.4 billion), Switzerland (42.2 billion) and Germany ($3.5 billion). China remains the fourth-largest services export market; overall sales reached $9266.0 billion worldwide last year – an increase of 16.4% year over year due to American movies, music videos and software/technology which appeals to customers abroad.

4. Information Technology

Information technology (IT), or IT for short, refers to a collection of digital tools used by businesses to organize and optimize their operations. This can include computer hardware, software and networks. IT services and products are utilized by companies of all sizes worldwide.

Modern commerce depends on IT systems – whether that be children selling lemonade from their sidewalk stand, or multinational corporations shipping their products globally. From early programmable computers that used punch cards for data input, to web servers powering e-commerce sites and online banking; information technology is one of the primary exports from the United States.

Information technology (IT) encompasses an expansive field; currently defined as including computer hardware, software, networks and security. IT departments at companies generally oversee managing, installing and troubleshooting these technologies; additionally, professionals working within this industry often specialize in cybersecurity to secure and prevent unauthorized access of computer systems.

The United States exports an array of goods and services around the world. Consumer goods, capital goods and automotive vehicles are some of the primary exports, while top service exports include travel and tourism, financial services, intellectual property protection services and government contracts.

Below you’ll find a table listing the top ten USA export products with their HS Code and value recorded for 2017 exports. Machinery was one of the major U.S. export products last year, exported to countries including Mexico, Canada and China. Texas led machinery exports within U.S. manufacturing manufacturing exports by producing machines; only California topped this export category overall.

5. Entertainment

Entertainment provides relief from daily stressors while offering amusement and diversion. Entertainment may take the form of passive activities such as watching a film or reading, active ones such as sports participation or even an unexpected pick-up game of basketball after work or camping trip – or it can even combine both elements!

American entertainment conglomerates benefit from having access to such a huge domestic market, providing them with enough financial muscle to invest in cutting-edge technologies while packing in more stars, costumes and special effects into their productions. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, a Hollywood movie costs an average of $75 million in production and marketing expenses – something few foreign movies can match.

American popular culture sells overseas, observers note, due to its ability to capture global myths and themes such as individualism, wealth creation, progressivism, tolerance and optimism that resonate with audiences worldwide. Yet some critics contend that American pop culture is just an extension of Satanic forces spawned from electronic sources undermining traditional values while encouraging mindless consumerism.

The United States is the leading producer and second-largest exporter of software products and entertainment products worldwide. Intellectual property exports generated $20.2 billion in 1996 compared to $10.8 billion in 1991 and are projected to double by 2001. Software accounts for nearly half of U.S. exports since the collapse of Soviet Union while services exports, such as travel and education services make up one third with Canada, China and Japan as its top three destinations.

You may also like to read Top 10 Famous American Scientists You Should Know

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