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Common American imports and where they come from

  • Common American imports and where they come from
    1/ Bjoern Wylezich // Shutterstock

    Common American imports and where they come from

    America is often celebrated as the land of grit and independence, and many would argue that the country was built on the rugged individualism of its citizens. But the days of a largely self-sufficient U.S. are long gone and like every other nation on the planet, America relies on plenty of goods and services from elsewhere to meet the demands of its populace.

    For example, many fruits and vegetables found on supermarket shelves come from Mexico, a great deal of wine and spirits are shipped from France and other countries, and tons of automobile parts, both small and large, come from Japan.

    Stacker used data from the 2018 U.S. Census import report to identify the countries that are the largest exporters to the U.S. Topping the list are China and Canada, which export goods in a total of 86 out of 142 end-use product categories (51 for China, 35 for Canada). The term end-use refers to the classification system of U.S. exported and imported merchandise based on principal use rather than the physical characters of the merchandise. These end-use codes are assigned by the Commerce Dept.'s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Stacker analyzed the data and reviewed information from the U.S. Trade Representative to determine which imported goods are valued highest and where Americans get the objects of their desires. Each import's data is ranked by highest import value from the U.S. 

    You may also like: 100 countries with highest GDP per capita

  • Alcoholic beverages, excluding wine
    2/ Pixabay

    Alcoholic beverages, excluding wine

    - Total U.S. imports: $8.6 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. France ($2.5 billion, 28.8%)
    --- #2. United Kingdom ($2 billion, 23.2%)
    --- #3. Mexico ($1.6 billion, 18%)
    --- #4. Ireland ($709.4 million, 8.2%)
    --- #5. Canada ($399.2 million, 4.6%)

    The U.S. imports billions of alcoholic beverages annually, with France being its main import source for hard liquor. Over the years, the U.S. has increased its imports of alcoholic beverages from France and this exchange plays a major role in American-Franco relations.

  • Artwork, antiques, stamps, etc.
    3/ PunkybarbyO // Shutterstock

    Artwork, antiques, stamps, etc.

    - Total U.S. imports: $14.2 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. France ($3.2 billion, 22.3%)
    --- #2. United Kingdom ($2.5 billion, 17.7%)
    --- #3. China ($2 billion, 14.1%)
    --- #4. Germany ($1 billion, 7.4%)
    --- #5. Italy ($1 billion, 7.2%)

    The U.S. continues its strong import relationship with France through the exchange of artwork, paintings, and other antiques and collectors' items. China is currently third, but trade tensions may be having a negative impact on such imports from the Middle Kingdom.

  • Cane and beet sugar
    4/ Pixabay

    Cane and beet sugar

    - Total U.S. imports: $1.6 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Mexico ($656.3 million, 41%)
    --- #2. Brazil ($199.5 million, 12.5%)
    --- #3. Guatemala ($126.4 million, 7.9%)
    --- #4. Dominican Republic ($99.1 million, 6.2%)
    --- #5. Colombia ($90.6 million, 5.7%)

    Mexico is the U.S.'s largest supplier of agricultural imports—including sugar. Cane and beet sugar are used for cooking; cane sugar especially is widely used for everything from baking to sweetening coffee and tea.

  • Civilian aircraft
    5/ Pixabay

    Civilian aircraft

    - Total U.S. imports: $12.3 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. France ($4.5 billion, 36.3%)
    --- #2. Canada ($3.1 billion, 25.1%)
    --- #3. Brazil ($2 billion, 16.2%)
    --- #4. Germany ($1.8 billion, 14.4%)
    --- #5. Israel ($429.5 million, 3.5%)

    The U.S. is a large importer of planes, helicopters, and spacecrafts from France. Other nations, such as Canada and Brazil, also contribute such imports by providing different parts and machinery crucial for these aircrafts to function.

  • Cocoa beans
    6/ Sebastian Duda // Shutterstock

    Cocoa beans

    - Total U.S. imports: $961.2 million
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Cote d'Ivoire ($608.1 million, 63.3%)
    --- #2. Ecuador ($123.5 million, 12.8%)
    --- #3. Ghana ($115.3 million, 12%)
    --- #4. Dominican Republic ($47.1 million, 4.9%)
    --- #5. Papua New Guinea ($17.3 million, 1.8%)

    The import of cocoa beans has seen a major drop over the past few years. This is largely due to deforestation in Western Africa, which is decreasing the overall production of cocoa beans.

  • Computers
    7/ John Schnobrich // Unsplash

    Computers

    - Total U.S. imports: $77.7 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. China ($47.3 billion, 60.9%)
    --- #2. Mexico ($24.9 billion, 32.1%)
    --- #3. Taiwan ($2.2 billion, 2.8%)
    --- #4. Vietnam ($748 million, 1%)
    --- #5. Germany ($343.7 million, 0.4%)

    China and the U.S. are major trading partners, with almost $660 billion in two-way trade in goods. However, trade tensions are having an impact, and as a result, other nations, such as Mexico, are seeing an increase in demand for goods such as computers.

  • Copper
    8/ Pixabay

    Copper

    - Total U.S. imports: $6 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Chile ($3 billion, 49.6%)
    --- #2. Canada ($1.8 billion, 29.1%)
    --- #3. Mexico ($697.8 million, 11.6%)
    --- #4. Peru ($123.9 million, 2.1%)
    --- #5. Zambia ($120.8 million, 2%)

    Copper is used in almost all electrical equipment and is extremely useful and beneficial in everyday life, in ways people may not always realize. The U.S. mainly imports copper from Chile, and although it exports more goods to Chile than Chile exports to the U.S., the relationship is strong.

  • Crude oil
    9/ 3dmotus // Shutterstock

    Crude oil

    - Total U.S. imports: $157.1 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Canada ($60.8 billion, 38.7%)
    --- #2. Saudi Arabia ($21.4 billion, 13.6%)
    --- #3. Mexico ($14.4 billion, 9.2%)
    --- #4. Iraq ($11.8 billion, 7.5%)
    --- #5. Venezuela ($10.4 billion, 6.6%)

    Canada is the top exporter of crude oil to the U.S. and is the fourth-largest producer and exporter of oil in the world. The U.S. maintains strong relations with Canada and because it is just next door, goods such as oil are easily exchanged. Saudi Arabia is the second top oil exporter to the U.S., albeit at a significantly lower level.

  • Dairy products and eggs
    10/ Pixabay

    Dairy products and eggs

    - Total U.S. imports: $2.1 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Italy ($333.7 million, 15.6%)
    --- #2. New Zealand ($265 million, 12.4%)
    --- #3. Ireland ($225.6 million, 10.5%)
    --- #4. France ($224.5 million, 10.5%)
    --- #5. Canada ($130 million, 6.1%)

    The top U.S. import from Italy is dairy products and eggs, specifically cheese, plus preserved meats. The Parmesan or Pecorino Romano you sprinkle on your pasta doesn't come from here for the most part.

  • Fruits, frozen juices
    11/ Pixabay

    Fruits, frozen juices

    - Total U.S. imports: $19.4 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Mexico ($7.3 billion, 37.7%)
    --- #2. Chile ($2.2 billion, 11.4%)
    --- #3. Guatemala ($1.3 billion, 6.5%)
    --- #4. Peru ($1.2 billion, 5.9%)
    --- #5. Costa Rica ($1.1 billion, 5.8%)

    Mexico is a large exporter of fruits, most notably to the U.S. In fact, its exports of fruit and juices to America far outstrips those of any other country.

  • Gem diamonds
    12/ Bjoern Wylezich // Shutterstock

    Gem diamonds

    - Total U.S. imports: $23.9 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. India ($9.1 billion, 38%)
    --- #2. Israel ($7.6 billion, 31.6%)
    --- #3. Belgium ($2.9 billion, 12.2%)
    --- #4. South Africa ($1.2 billion, 4.9%)
    --- #5. Switzerland ($497.2 million, 2.1%)

    The U.S.'s top import category from India is precious metal and stone, also referred to as gem diamonds. The U.S. and India continue to move forward and improve trade relationships, though the $87.5 billion in two-way goods trade in 2018 was modest, given the size of India's population.

  • Green coffee
    13/ Pixabay

    Green coffee

    - Total U.S. imports: $4.7 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Colombia ($1.1 billion, 24.3%)
    --- #2. Brazil ($933.9 million, 20%)
    --- #3. Vietnam ($391.4 million, 8.4%)
    --- #4. Guatemala ($325.9 million, 7%)
    --- #5. Indonesia ($290.3 million, 6.2%)

    The U.S. and Colombia have strong trade relations and both largely benefit from this successful mercantile alliance. Colombian green coffee is known as one of the best coffees in the world, which explains why it is a top exporter to America. Brazil, also known for its delicious coffee beans, follows closely behind Colombia in import value.

  • Household appliances
    14/ Pixabay

    Household appliances

    - Total U.S. imports: $31.2 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. China ($16 billion, 51.3%)
    --- #2. Mexico ($7.7 billion, 24.8%)
    --- #3. Korea, South ($1.8 billion, 5.8%)
    --- #4. Thailand ($969.7 million, 3.1%)
    --- #5. Malaysia ($808.1 million, 2.6%)

    Machinery, furniture and bedding, and plastics were among the top U.S. import categories from China. Although other nations contribute to the import of household appliances to the U.S., China is the main producer. As with other goods and services, trade tensions may negatively affect this trade.

  • Jewelry
    15/ Pixabay

    Jewelry

    - Total U.S. imports: $13.8 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Switzerland ($3.1 billion, 22.2%)
    --- #2. China ($2.1 billion, 15.2%)
    --- #3. India ($1.8 billion, 13.4%)
    --- #4. Italy ($989.7 million, 7.2%)
    --- #5. Thailand ($984.7 million, 7.2%)

    Switzerland is a large producer of jewelry, such as pearls, precious stones, and metals. Imports of jewelry to the U.S. help account for the trade imbalance between the countries: The trade deficit with Switzerland amounted to $14.3 billion in 2017—a 5.6% increase over 2016.

  • Leather and furs
    16/ optimarc // Shutterstock

    Leather and furs

    - Total U.S. imports: $711.2 million
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Italy ($215.7 million, 30.3%)
    --- #2. Brazil ($151.5 million, 21.3%)
    --- #3. Mexico ($85.3 million, 12%)
    --- #4. Argentina ($38.5 million, 5.4%)
    --- #5. Uruguay ($34.5 million, 4.8%)

    Italy is a top exporter of leather and furs, specifically to the United States, and accounts for a little less than half of animal hides export items. These items are notably used in high-end clothing and shoes.

  • Meat products
    17/ Pixabay

    Meat products

    - Total U.S. imports: $11.4 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Canada ($4 billion, 34.9%)
    --- #2. Australia ($2.1 billion, 18.5%)
    --- #3. Mexico ($2.1 billion, 18.1%)
    --- #4. New Zealand ($1.3 billion, 11.3%)
    --- #5. Brazil ($307 million, 2.7%)

    Canada is the second-largest supplier of agricultural imports to the U.S., with red meat products being one of the leading categories. In 2017, America bought some $2.3 billion worth of red meat from its northern neighbor.

  • Medical equipment
    18/ Pixabay

    Medical equipment

    - Total U.S. imports: $42.2 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Mexico ($7.9 billion, 18.6%)
    --- #2. Germany ($5.3 billion, 12.5%)
    --- #3. China ($5.1 billion, 12.2%)
    --- #4. Japan ($3.1 billion, 7.4%)
    --- #5. Ireland ($2.4 billion, 5.7%)

    Mexico is one of the leading exporters of optical and medical instruments to the U.S. Such goods are critical to the functionality of hospitals and doctors' offices.

  • Motorcycles and parts
    19/ Jag_cz // Shutterstock

    Motorcycles and parts

    - Total U.S. imports: $3.6 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Japan ($970.7 million, 27.2%)
    --- #2. China ($843 million, 23.6%)
    --- #3. Austria ($332.4 million, 9.3%)
    --- #4. Thailand ($301.8 million, 8.4%)
    --- #5. Germany ($214 million, 6%)

    Top import categories from Japan include vehicles and machinery, making Japan the top exporter of automotive parts to the U.S. Japan exported $2.8 billion in motorcycles in 2017, with the U.S. as one of its major markets.

  • Natural rubber
    20/ Pixabay

    Natural rubber

    - Total U.S. imports: $1.5 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Indonesia ($931.6 million, 60.6%)
    --- #2. Thailand ($301.3 million, 19.6%)
    --- #3. Cote d'Ivoire ($91.7 million, 6%)
    --- #4. Liberia ($56.1 million, 3.6%)
    --- #5. Vietnam ($50.8 million, 3.3%)

    Indonesia is the second-largest producer of rubber in the world, and that's where the U.S. gets the majority of the rubber it uses in so many different aspects of daily life.

  • Numismatic coins
    21/ milatiger // Shutterstock

    Numismatic coins

    - Total U.S. imports: $1.2 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Canada ($527.8 million, 45.6%)
    --- #2. Australia ($167.4 million, 14.5%)
    --- #3. United Kingdom ($133 million, 11.5%)
    --- #4. China ($75.1 million, 6.5%)
    --- #5. Austria ($44.3 million, 3.8%)

    Numismatic coins are rare or valuable coins that have an external value larger than the base value of the precious metal. Canada has a long history of numismatics and coinage, which make it the leading exporters of numismatic coins to America.

  • Nursery stock, etc.
    22/ debra millet // Shutterstock

    Nursery stock, etc.

    - Total U.S. imports: $2.1 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Colombia ($767.9 million, 36.6%)
    --- #2. Canada ($410 million, 19.6%)
    --- #3. Ecuador ($259.7 million, 12.4%)
    --- #4. Netherlands ($213.4 million, 10.2%)
    --- #5. China ($70.3 million, 3.4%)

    Nursery stock is defined as trees, shrubs, woody vines, etc. that are offered for sale and distribution. The U.S. gets a huge share of such goods from Colombia—in fact, nursery goods are the second-biggest item America imports from there.

  • Nuts
    23/ gresei // Shutterstock

    Nuts

    - Total U.S. imports: $3.5 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Vietnam ($1.3 billion, 37.3%)
    --- #2. Mexico ($804.6 million, 22.8%)
    --- #3. Canada ($165.6 million, 4.7%)
    --- #4. China ($128.6 million, 3.6%)
    --- #5. Thailand ($121.1 million, 3.4%)

    Over the past decade, trade relations between the U.S. and Vietnam have improved dramatically. Among other imported items, including clothing and footwear, nuts are a major import from this nation.

  • Passenger cars, new and used
    24/ Pixabay

    Passenger cars, new and used

    - Total U.S. imports: $173.2 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Japan ($40.4 billion, 23.3%)
    --- #2. Canada ($37.5 billion, 21.6%)
    --- #3. Mexico ($34.1 billion, 19.7%)
    --- #4. Germany ($18.6 billion, 10.8%)
    --- #5. Korea, South ($13.8 billion, 8%)

    Japan, being a top producer of vehicles and machinery imported by the America, ranks high as a provider of passenger cars. Most of Japan's auto exports go to the U.S., with China and Australia coming in second and third, respectively.

  • Pharmaceuticals
    25/ Pixabay

    Pharmaceuticals

    - Total U.S. imports: $133.8 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Ireland ($35.9 billion, 26.8%)
    --- #2. Germany ($15.7 billion, 11.8%)
    --- #3. Switzerland ($14.8 billion, 11.1%)
    --- #4. Singapore ($7.4 billion, 5.5%)
    --- #5. India ($6.9 billion, 5.2%)

    Pharmaceutical preparations, defined as drugs presented in their finished dosage form and intended for human or veterinary use, are imported largely from Ireland. In fact, Ireland is the largest exporter of pharmaceuticals to the European Union, as well as to the U.S.

  • Pleasure boats and motors
    26/ Pixabay

    Pleasure boats and motors

    - Total U.S. imports: $3.7 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Japan ($1.3 billion, 35%)
    --- #2. Mexico ($489.1 million, 13.3%)
    --- #3. Italy ($314.4 million, 8.5%)
    --- #4. China ($279.1 million, 7.6%)
    --- #5. France ($201.3 million, 5.5%)

    Besides motorcycles, plenty of other vehicles that provide Americans with outdoor fun come from Japan—and that includes boats. Since Japan is a top producer of machinery, electrical machinery, and vehicles, that's not so surprising.

  • Semiconductors
    27/ Pixabay

    Semiconductors

    - Total U.S. imports: $54.1 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Malaysia ($17.7 billion, 32.8%)
    --- #2. China ($8.9 billion, 16.4%)
    --- #3. Taiwan ($6.1 billion, 11.2%)
    --- #4. Korea, South ($3.9 billion, 7.1%)
    --- #5. Japan ($3.7 billion, 6.9%)

    Malaysia is a major exporter of semiconductors, most notably to China and the U.S. Trade between Malaysia and America increased by 4% in 2018, helping to strengthen a robust mercantile relationship between the two nations.

  • Spacecraft, excluding military
    28/ Vadim Sodovsky // Shutterstock

    Spacecraft, excluding military

    - Total U.S. imports: $297 million
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Russia ($225.8 million, 76%)
    --- #2. Norway ($37.1 million, 12.5%)
    --- #3. United Kingdom ($14.6 million, 4.9%)
    --- #4. Israel ($5.8 million, 2%)
    --- #5. Japan ($4.6 million, 1.5%)

    Over the past few years, the U.S. has increased imports of spacecraft from Russia. Relations between the U.S. and Russia have been and remain controversial, and spacecraft is one of the few categories in which there is vigorous trade.

  • Tea, spices, etc.
    29/ Pixabay

    Tea, spices, etc.

    - Total U.S. imports: $2.6 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Madagascar ($521.7 million, 19.9%)
    --- #2. China ($313.6 million, 12%)
    --- #3. India ($285.8 million, 10.9%)
    --- #4. Vietnam ($209.8 million, 8%)
    --- #5. Indonesia ($178.5 million, 6.8%)

    Teas, spices, and coffee are the main exports of Madagascar and are the top import category for the U.S. from Madagascar. Vanilla beans are perhaps the most famous spice from Madagascar; they are extremely popular in cooking, baking, and making ice cream.

  • Tin
    30/ Pixabay

    Tin

    - Total U.S. imports: $804.9 million
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Indonesia ($189.5 million, 23.5%)
    --- #2. Malaysia ($158.4 million, 19.7%)
    --- #3. Peru ($140.1 million, 17.4%)
    --- #4. Bolivia ($129.7 million, 16.1%)
    --- #5. Brazil ($57.5 million, 7.1%)

    Indonesia is one of the leading exporters of tin, followed closely by Malaysia. Tin has many uses, most notably in cans to prevent corrosion. The U.S. maintains strong trade relations with both Indonesia and Malaysia.

  • Trucks, buses, and special purpose vehicles
    31/ Pixabay

    Trucks, buses, and special purpose vehicles

    - Total U.S. imports: $41.7 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Mexico ($33.8 billion, 81%)
    --- #2. Canada ($5 billion, 12%)
    --- #3. China ($693.8 million, 1.7%)
    --- #4. Japan ($639.8 million, 1.5%)
    --- #5. Spain ($514.4 million, 1.2%)

    As the third-largest source of U.S. imports, Mexico is of increasing importance to the American economy. Many of the parts that go into buses and those tractor-trailers you see moving goods across the country originated in Mexico.

  • Vegetables
    32/ Pixabay

    Vegetables

    - Total U.S. imports: $13.6 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Mexico ($6.8 billion, 49.9%)
    --- #2. Canada ($2.9 billion, 21.1%)
    --- #3. China ($675.8 million, 5%)
    --- #4. Peru ($559.1 million, 4.1%)
    --- #5. Spain ($314.7 million, 2.3%)

    Mexico has become a breadbasket of the U.S., with one of its leading agricultural exports across the northern border being fresh vegetables. Recently, there has been some debate about whether importing so much fruit and vegetables is a bad thing.

  • Wine, beer, and related products
    33/ Pixabay

    Wine, beer, and related products

    - Total U.S. imports: $11.9 billion
    - Top countries imported from:
    --- #1. Mexico ($3.6 billion, 30.4%)
    --- #2. France ($2.1 billion, 17.9%)
    --- #3. Italy ($2.1 billion, 17.8%)
    --- #4. Netherlands ($780.1 million, 6.6%)
    --- #5. New Zealand ($442.3 million, 3.7%)

    Mexico, as the largest supplier for agricultural products to the U.S., also dominates the category of wine and beer. The #5 supplier, New Zealand, has created strong ties with the U.S. over the past few years, and trade between the two nations is increasing.

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