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Exports from the U.S. have risen from $448bn to $1.55tn during the past 25 years, but which export categories make the most money?

The United States has 248 export categories valued over $1bn, three times greater than a quarter of a century ago.

But besides the stereotypical exports from The States like cotton and corn, medicines, meat and gold, which are the best export market categories that actually rake in dollars?


Aircraft is far and away the largest export category in terms of monetary value from the U.S. – one-third more valuable than the second export with this list alone.

One thing that’s certain is that the likes of Boeing wouldn’t enjoy a trade war between the world’s two export powerhouses.


The value of the gas market has increased massively in the last few years, regardless of the clamour from authorities to turn to renewable energy sources and global businesses to be viewed as green.

Last year, gasoline (including other refined petroleum products) raked in just under $77.5bn whilst Mexico holds 27% market share and Canada 11%.

It’s estimated that this year foreign motor manufacturers will create more vehicles in the USA compared to U.S. firms will. Last year, a vast majority of those exports entered the Chinese, Chinese and Mexican markets with two U.S. ports exporting more than $1b each throughout the year.

Motor Vehicle Parts

Perhaps not surprisingly, among the nations that lead in automobile exports also makes a lot of money exporting individual motor parts. However, the motor industry is wary of potential NAFTA disturbance that could alter the face of the auto-exporting industry.

Computer Chips

The first’modern’ export to create the top-5 U.S. export classes is that of computer chips. Given the small size of the export, most of the product travel abroad via airfreight – 50% of that from just four airports in Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco and Cleveland.

What other products are also leading exports for the U.S.? Food, beverage and feed was the top value class when combined worth a $133bn. Soybeans made up $22bn of the, with poultry and meat just behind at $18bn.

Concerning services, travel and transport ($136bn), finance and insurance ($76bn) and intellectual property earnings ($49bn) account for the most.

Top 5 US Exports in 2017

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