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

Friday, October 06, 2017
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 2016” report focuses on changes in U.S. exports and imports with respect to ten sectors (agriculture, footwear, forestry, textiles, electronics, minerals, transport, chemicals, energy, and machinery) and eight trading partners/regions (Canada, Mexico, the NAFTA area, China, the European Union, Asia, OPEC, and sub-Saharan Africa). The ITC notes that this year’s report does not include the analytic text that normally accompanies the data due to “competing resource demands generated by high workloads in other areas of the Commission’s mission.”

Exports. For the ten sectors examined, the value of U.S. total exports fell 3.5 percent to $1.41 trillion. Exports were up $2 billion for agriculture but down for all other sectors, from $100 million for footwear to $11 billion for machinery.

With respect to individual products, export increases were highest for unwrought zinc (+354.9 percent), aluminum bars, rods, and profiles (+125.5 percent), and unrefined and refined copper (+80.9 percent) while the biggest decreases were found in nuclear materials (-46.0 percent), construction and mining equipment (-30.2 percent), and pipes and tubes of carbon and alloy steels (-26.7 percent).

For all merchandise sectors, exports were down to Canada (-5.2 percent), China (-0.3 percent), Mexico (-2.0 percent), Germany (-1.2 percent), South Korea (-2.7 percent), and the United Kingdom (-1.3 percent) but up for Japan (+1.3 percent), France (+2.8 percent), and India (+1.1 percent). Regionally, exports were down 0.6 percent to the European Union, 5.3 percent to Latin America, 0.4 percent to Asia, and 24.5 percent to sub-Saharan Africa.

Imports. The value of U.S. imports in the ten examined sectors dropped 3.0 percent to $1.98 trillion. Imports increased in the agriculture ($3 billion), forestry ($1 billion), and electronics ($200 million) sectors but were down for the other seven sectors, from $400 million for chemicals to $36 billion for energy.

With respect to individual products, the highest import increases were registered for unrefined and refined gold (+50 percent), precious metals and non-numismatic coins (+24.5 percent), and organic specialty chemicals (+22.6 percent) and the biggest decreases were in pipes and tubes of carbon and alloy steels (-46.3 percent), fertilizers (-33.9 percent), and steel mill products (-26.9 percent).

For all sectors, imports were up from India (+2.7 percent) and Japan (+0.6 percent) and down for China (-4.2 percent), Canada (-6.1 percent), Mexico (-0.8 percent), Germany (-8.5 percent), South Korea (-2.5 percent), the United Kingdom (-6.3 percent), France (-2.2 percent), and Taiwan (-3.9 percent). Regionally, imports were down 2.5 percent from the EU, 2.5 percent from Latin America, and 1.6 percent from Asia but up 6.9 percent from sub-Saharan Africa.

Trade Balances. U.S. trade balances improved in the energy-related products (+30.5 percent), textiles and apparel (+4.4 percent) and footwear (+7.3 percent) sectors but declined in the other seven, from 0.1 percent in transportation equipment to 56.3 percent in forestry products. The largest trade deficits by sector were in chemicals and related products ($9.4 billion) and machinery ($4.5 billion) and the largest trade surpluses were in energy-related products ($25.7 billion) and textiles and apparel ($4.6 billion).

The U.S. balance of trade in goods across all sectors improved with China (+2.2 percent), Canada (+22.1 percent), Germany (+13.3 percent), South Korea (+2.3 percent), France (+10.7 percent), and Taiwan (+11.8 percent) but worsened with Mexico (-4.2 percent) and India (-4.2 percent). Regionally, the goods trade balance improved with the EU (+5.9 percent) and Asia (+2.4 percent) but worsened with Latin America (-43.3 percent) and sub-Saharan Africa (-687.1 percent).

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