U.S. trade with the world increased to a record $3.8 trillion in 2012, according to WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census bureau data released in mid-February.
Total trade has topped $3 trillion five of the last six years, dropping below only in 2009, and will likely top $4 trillion for the first time in 2013.
The United States set records for total exports, at $1.5 trillion, and imports, at $2.3 trillion. The deficit, at $728.9 billion, was higher than the deficit of the previous three years but not higher than the deficits for the four years from 2005 through 2009.
The record trade deficit – the deficit is total exports minus total imports – is $828 billion, in 2006.
The balance of trade – the percentage of total trade that is an export – has stood at 40 percent for four consecutive years. From 2000 to 2008, it was below 40 percent, the low being 35 percent in 2005.
Canada, the United States’ perennial No. 1 trade partner became the first nation to ever top $600 billion in U.S. trade. Los Angeles, the nation’s leading Customs district every year but two for the last two decades, became the first to top $400 billion in trade with the world in 2012.
For the first time ever, a single U.S. export – gasoline and similar fuels – topped $100 billion in value. The leading U.S. import – oil – did not set a record in 2012, actually falling from its 2011 total to $315.7 billion. The record year was 2008, when the value of oil imported into the United States was $353.5 billion.
After Canada, the top trade partners for 2012 are China, Mexico, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, South Korea, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and, rounding out the top 10, France.
Saudi Arabia jumped three positions in rank to enter the top 10. Falling out of the top 10 in 2012 was Taiwan.
After Los Angeles, the top 10 Customs districts are New York City, Houston, Detroit, New Orleans, Laredo, Chicago, Seattle, Savannah and Miami. New York was No. 1 in 2011 and in 2001; Savannah includes Atlanta. Miami entered the top 10 for the first time, slipping past San Francisco, which fell to No. 11.
After gasoline, the top 10 exports were civilian aircraft, motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts, low-value shipments, computer chips, gold, cell phones, computers and soybeans.
Soybeans jumped three positions to rank in the top 10; the value of U.S. exports of soybeans has more than doubled since 2007.
After oil, the top 10 imports were motor vehicles, gasoline, computers, cell phones, motor vehicle parts, returned exports, pharmaceuticals, TVs and computer monitors, and computer chips. It was the same 10 imports in the top 10 in 2011, although pharmaceuticals slipped two positions in the ranking.
On this website, in the Trade Data section, WorldCity updates U.S. trade with more than 200 countries and almost four dozen Customs districts every month. WorldCity allows users to drill down further into the data in the Trade Intelligence section, where a free one-day trial is available.
WorldCity will again publish U.S. TradeNumbers, an annual publication produced since 2006 that profiles
U.S. trade with the top 20 trading partners, the top 20 Customs districts, the top 10 exports and the top 10 imports.
In addition, WorldCity will publish Los Angeles TradeNumbers, Houston TradeNumbers, Seattle TradeNumbers, Laredo TradeNumbers and Miami TradeNumbers as well as two new publications, Dallas-Fort Worth TradeNumbers and Puerto Rico TradeNumbers. In addition, WorldCity will publish Perishable TradeNumbers.
For more information on any of these publications, contact WorldCity at 305-441-2244 or Sari Govantes at