Feb 06, 2014 - 1:30pm

2013: The Year in Trade


Senior Vice President for International Policy

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U.S. Exports and Imports Set New Records in 2013
U.S. Exports and Imports Set New Records in 2013

Find the 2014: Year in Trade here

The Department of Commerce today released the official U.S. trade statistics for 2013. Seizing the benefits of international trade and investment is a top priority for the U.S. Chamber, so it’s worth taking a moment to see what the numbers tell us:

  • Record Exports and Imports: U.S. exports and imports set new records in 2013. For 2013, exports reached $2,272 billion and imports $2,744 billion. For goods, exports were $1,590 billion and imports were $2,294 billion. For services, exports were $682 billion and imports were $450 billion.
  • Slower Growth for Exports: Since the depths of the recession, U.S. exports of goods and services have risen by 16.6% in 2010, 14.5% in 2011, 4.4% in 2012, and 2.8% in 2013. Slower economic growth abroad over the past two years has led to restrained growth in U.S. exports. Continuing slow growth in many key markets means this trend is likely to continue in 2014.
  • FTAs Make Big Markets: America’s 20 free-trade agreement (FTA) partners purchased nearly half (46.4%) of U.S. goods exports in 2013. This is a remarkable performance given that these countries represent just 10% of global GDP outside the United States. On a per capita basis, these countries purchase 12 times as many U.S. goods and services as non-FTA countries.
  • Deficit Shrinks…: The goods and services deficit was $472 billion in 2013, down from $540 billion in 2012. As a percentage of GDP, the goods and services deficit fell to 2.8% of GDP in 2013, down from 3.3% in 2012 and 5.7% in 2006. The goods deficit fell by $38 billion from the year before. The U.S. surplus in services grew significantly (see below).
  • …Helped by FTAs … While the sectoral breakdown for 2013 isn’t yet available, data through November show it’s clear the United States continues to run a trade surplus in manufactured goods with its FTA partners -- taken as a group -- on top of global trade surpluses in services and agricultural products. This surplus for manufactures again topped $50 billion in 2013 -- nearly triple its 2010 level.
  • …And Services … The services sector accounted for more than half the dollar growth in total U.S. exports compared to 2012. The U.S. trade surplus in services grew by more than 10% to reach $232 billion, underscoring the dynamism and competitiveness of U.S. services industries.
  • … And the U.S. Energy Boom: U.S. net imports of petroleum continued their rapid decline to $232 billion in 2013 (from $291 billion in 2012 and $326 billion in 2011). According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Imported petroleum and other liquid fuels as a share of total U.S. use reached 60% in 2013 before dipping below 50% in 2010 and falling further to 40% in 2012. The import share continues to decline to 25% in 2016.” The falling bill for energy imports is one more good reason to develop America’s prodigious energy resources.
  • Americas First: Canada again edged the EU as the top market for U.S. goods exports in 2013, and the Americas purchased 45% of U.S. goods exports -- a total nearly equal to the sum of U.S. exports to East Asia (24.6%) and Europe (20.7%). The nations of the Americas accounted for over half the increase in U.S. merchandise exports over the past three years -- twice East Asia’s contribution.
  • Transatlantic Ties Still Bind: As a single market, the EU remains America’s top trading partner (combining exports and imports) when services are included. While U.S. goods exports to the EU have risen by $41 billion over the past four years, the share of U.S. goods exports purchased by the EU has fallen by about 4% in this period (and something similar is likely true for the EU as well). U.S. and EU leaders hope to reverse this trend through the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
  • Most Imports from Middle Kingdom: China reaffirmed its position as the top source of U.S. goods imports in 2013 ($446 billion when Hong Kong is included), and it ranks third as a national market for U.S. goods exports (after Canada and Mexico). U.S. goods exports to China and Hong Kong topped $164 billion in 2013, an increase of 82% from 2009 -- the fastest pace of growth among the top 10 U.S. export markets.

 

About the Author

About the Author

Senior Vice President for International Policy

Murphy directs the U.S. Chamber’s advocacy relating to international trade and investment policy.