Silicon Valley may be the tech capital of the world but physical goods still account for around two-thirds of US exports, new figures show.
Machinery and electrical equipment brought in $363 billion - almost a quarter of the $1.5 trillion worth of American goods exported in 2017, according to the World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Statistics (WITS) database. Total US exports in 2017 were $2.35 trillion.
The next biggest category was transportation equipment, which includes planes, boats and trains, worth $267 billion. Services earned the US almost $800 billion in 2017, led by travel and management consulting.
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Guns and guitars
The “Miscellaneous” category – which covers a range of goods from arms and ammunition to toys and includes furniture, musical instruments and antiques – comprised the third largest group, worth $177 billion.
Petrochemicals earned a total of almost $300 billion, while minerals contributed less than $10 billion.
The WITS database shows that Canada was the biggest export market for the US, taking just under a fifth of all goods exported, followed by Mexico, China, Japan, the UK and Germany.
A perfect storm
The World Economic Forum and United Nations Development Programme report Reshaping Global Value says world trade is facing unprecedented change as manufacturing responds to a “perfect storm” of factors disrupting the global production system.
It identifies three megatrends: emerging technologies; the need for much greater environmental sustainability in response to accelerating climate change; and the reconfiguration of globalization.