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Top 10 U.S. Export Partners Tells A Different, Less Asian Story

Last year, for the first time, a majority of the top 10 U.S. trade partners were Asian nations.

While that remains the case today, it is not the case when looking at the United States’ top export partners.

Instead of six Asian nations, there are four.

Instead of two Western Hemispheric nations, there are three.

Instead of two European nations, there are three.

This is the second in a series of columns about the nation’s exports. It follows similar series I did for the countries that are the nation’s top 10 trade partners and one for the airports, seaports and border crossings that are the nation’s top 10 “ports.”

The first article in this series focused on an overview of the top 10 exports.

This post will take a quick look at those 10 countries that are among the top 10 partners for U.S. exports:

  1. Canada
  2. Mexico
  3. China
  4. Japan
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Germany
  7. South Korea
  8. Netherlands
  9. Brazil
  10. India

The Netherlands and Brazil do not rank among the nation’s top 10 trade partners for total trade but are strong export markets for the United States, the former because it is a transshipment hub and the later due to the size of its economy and its proximity.

The two Asian nations that rank in the top 10 for total trade but not exports are Vietnam and Taiwan.

The United States’ top 10 export partners are accounting for just under two-thirds of all U.S. exports through April, the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

That trade tilts more to exports once the Asian nations are excluded.

When looking at total U.S. trade worldwide, 39 cents of every dollar is a U.S. export — in other words, 39%. For the top 10 export partners, that percentage drops slightly, to 38%.

But looking at just the trade balance of the three European nations in the top 10, the percentage increases to 45%. That’s because the United States has a trade surplus with both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, $9.8 billion and $4.64 billion, respectively, almost erasing the deficit with Germany, which stood at $20.72 billion.

The trade balance for the Western Hemisphere trade partners among the top 10 for exports was 43%. While the United States is running deficits with Canada ($28.41 billion) and Mexico ($41.88 billion), it is running a surplus with Brazil, at $5.74 billion.

Individually, the U.S. balance of trade is highest among the top 10 with the Netherlands, at 64%, followed by Brazil, at 60%.