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Imports and Exports in Key Industries and With Major Trading Partners are Focus of ITC Report

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Trade Commission has updated its annual compendium of data and analysis examining changes in trade with key U.S. partners and in important industries. The “Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2017” report focuses on changes in U.S. exports and imports with respect to ten sectors (agricultural products, chemicals and related products, electronic products, energy and related products, footwear, forest products, machinery, minerals and metals, textiles and apparel, and transportation equipment) and five trading partners/regions (Canada, China, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom). The ITC notes that this year’s report concludes with a special section examining the impact that intermediate goods imports have had on U.S. sectoral trade flows.

Exports. Total U.S. exports rose 6.6 percent in 2017 to $1.55 trillion and exports in all ten sectors examined in this report increased. The value of energy-related product exports alone grew by 45.5 percent, with an 85.6 percent jump in crude petroleum exports and an 18.6 percent gain in crude petroleum prices. The other sectors with notable increases in export growth included machinery (6.1 percent), minerals and metals (6.0 percent), forest products (5.3 percent), footwear (4.5 percent), and chemicals and related products (4.2 percent).

For all merchandise sectors, exports were up for India, (18.7 percent), Korea (14.1 percent), China (12.8 percent), Italy (9.7 percent), Germany (8.4 percent), France (7.9 percent), Japan (7.1 percent), Canada (5.9 percent), Mexico (5.8 percent), and the United Kingdom (1.9 percent). Regionally, exports were down 9.4 percent to OPEC countries but up 10.0 percent to Asia, 7.5 percent to Latin America, and 5.2 percent to the European Union.

Imports. The value of total U.S. imports rose 7.1 percent to $2.34 trillion in 2017 and imports in all ten industry sectors examined increased. The largest increases were in energy-related products (25.5 percent), minerals and metals (9.4 percent), machinery (9.4 percent), and electronic products (7.6 percent). With respect to specific products, imports of crude petroleum, computers, and  telecommunications equipment rose the most in value, while imports of precious metals, gold, and pharmaceuticals saw the largest decreases.

For all sectors, imports were up from Italy (10.4 percent), China (9.3 percent), Canada (8.0 percent), Mexico (6.8 percent), India (5.6 percent), France (4.7 percent), Japan (3.4 percent), Germany (3.2 percent), and Korea (1.8 percent) but down from the United Kingdom (2.2 percent). Regionally, imports were up from sub-Saharan Africa (23.6 percent), OPEC countries (23.3 percent), Asia (7.1 percent), Latin America (7.0 percent), and the EU (4.5 percent).

Trade Balances. U.S. trade balances improved in energy-related products (7.7 percent), forest products (4.7 percent), chemicals and related products (2.2 percent), and footwear (0.2 percent) but declined in agricultural products (40.1 percent), machinery (17.6 percent), minerals and metals (17.2 percent), electronic products (14.0 percent), transportation equipment (11.4 percent), and textiles and apparel (0.7 percent). The largest trade deficits by sector were in electronic products ($216.0 billion), transportation equipment ($109.5 billion), and textiles and apparel ($99.3 billion) and the only trade surplus was in agricultural products ($5.7 billion).

The U.S. balance of trade in goods across all sectors improved with the UK (220.0 percent), Korea (17.0 percent), India (5.9 percent), France (1.7 percent), and Germany (0.7 percent) but worsened with Canada (59.7 percent), Italy (10.8 percent), Mexico (10.4 percent), China (8.1 percent), and Japan (0.1 percent). Regionally, the goods trade balance worsened with sub-Saharan Africa (62.1 percent), Asia, (5.1 percent), the EU (3.2 percent), and Latin America (2.1 percent).

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