Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Countries America has the largest trade deficit with

  • Countries America has the largest trade deficit with

    Economists have long debated the meaning of a trade deficit—including how much it signals about an economy's health—and those discussions often fall along political lines. Regardless of the actual importance of the trade deficit, President Donald Trump has made reducing the U.S. trade deficit a top priority for his administration. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the U.S. had a total trade deficit of $878.6 billion in 2018.

    Ranked by the top trade deficit, Stacker researched the countries with whom the U.S. has the largest deficit, specifically noting the top “end-use” product categories. As defined, “end-use” is the classification system for U.S.-exported and imported merchandise based on principal use rather than the physical characteristics of the merchandise. End-use codes are assigned by the Bureau of Economic Analysis under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

    Trump's trade wars with China and sanctions in several countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia are affecting relations with foreign countries. Iraq, which is allied with Iran, stands to lose a lot should sanctions continue. “Iraq is one of those countries caught between the two, having been given a 45-day exemption period by the U.S. before it is expected to halt trade with Iran,” Foreign Policy reported.

    Thailand is yet another country that could suffer greatly from the pending trade wars, according to the South Morning China Post, which reports: “with its deep ties to China and solid friendship with the U.S., Thailand must carefully find a balance in this time of U.S.-China tensions.”

    Meanwhile, countries like Malaysia—to whom the U.S. owes almost $26 billion—are going on record accusing both the U.S. and China of inevitable long-term damage.

    Using U.S. Census data from 2018, Stacker ranked the countries that the U.S. has the largest trade deficit with, from smallest to largest. Only sovereign countries were considered.

    You may also like: America's fastest-growing imports

  • #25. Finland

    - Deficit: $5.3 billion (imports to U.S.: $7.2 billion; exports from U.S.: $1.9 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Passenger cars, new and used ($1.7 billion, 23.9%)
    --- #2. Paper and paper products ($760.7 million, 10.6%)
    --- #3. Pharmaceutical preparations ($756.5 million, 10.6%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Nonferrous metals, other ($170.2 million, 9.1%)
    --- #2. Telecommunications equipment ($148.8 million, 7.9%)
    --- #3. Passenger cars, new and used ($125.3 million, 6.7%)

    Since establishing diplomatic relations with Finland in 1919, severing them in 1944 due to their alliance with Nazi Germany, and reestablishing them in the 1950s, the U.S.' on and off relationship with the country has produced a $5.3 billion deficit in trade. This history has not stopped the two countries from getting along. “In today's conversations, we reaffirm that relations between Finland and the United States have never been stronger,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said.

  • #24. Denmark

    - Deficit: $6.3 billion (imports to U.S.: $8.9 billion; exports from U.S.: $2.6 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Pharmaceutical preparations ($4.4 billion, 49.5%)
    --- #2. Industrial machines, other ($352.9 million, 4%)
    --- #3. Tobacco, waxes, etc. ($278.7 million, 3.1%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Crude oil ($300.0 million, 11.7%)
    --- #2. Pharmaceutical preparations ($150.9 million, 5.9%)
    --- #3. Medicinal equipment ($141.7 million, 5.5%)

    Denmark is one of the rare sovereign countries that has repaid all of its foreign debts, notes Quartz. The U.S. Department of State reports that the U.S. is Denmark's most significant non-European Union trade partner, and the two countries share a healthy and mutually advantageous relationship. Trade metric website World's Top Exports details other chief trading partners with Denmark including Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

  • #23. Sweden

    - Deficit: $6.9 billion (imports to U.S.: $11.4 billion; exports from U.S.: $4.5 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Passenger cars, new and used ($2 billion, 17.2%)
    --- #2. Industrial machines, other ($597.5 million, 5.2%)
    --- #3. Pharmaceutical preparations ($528.1 million, 4.6%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Pharmaceutical preparations ($576.1 million, 12.9%)
    --- #2. Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($545 million, 12.2%)
    --- #3. Minimum value shipments ($212.1 million, 4.7%)

    Market data portal Statista reports Sweden's top car exports in 2018 were three Volvo and two Volkswagen models. The percentage of the popular passenger cars imported into the U.S. accounts for the foremost $2 billion and 17.2% of the trade deficit. Volvo is a Chinese-owned Swedish company that manufactures vehicles in America, specifically South Carolina.

  • #22. Venezuela

    - Deficit: $7.3 billion (imports to U.S.: $13.2 billion; exports from U.S.: $5.9 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Crude oil ($10.4 billion, 78.9%)
    --- #2. Fuel oil ($1.3 billion, 9.8%)
    --- #3. Petroleum products, other ($863.5 million, 6.6%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Petroleum products, other ($2.9 billion, 49.8%)
    --- #2. Fuel oil ($1 billion, 17.4%)
    --- #3. Chemicals-organic ($184.9 million, 3.2%)

    U.S. imports of Venezuelan crude oil collapsed after relations between the two countries have grown more strained. Venezuela's crude production equals approximately 732,000 to 960,000 barrels per day, and as of late had been distributed to three top U.S. oil refineries including Citgo, Valero, and Chevron.

  • #21. Israel

    - Deficit: $8 billion (imports to U.S.: $21.8 billion; exports from U.S.: $13.7 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Gem diamonds ($7.6 billion, 34.7%)
    --- #2. Pharmaceutical preparations ($3.6 billion, 16.5%)
    --- #3. U.S. goods returned, and reimports ($1.4 billion, 6.4%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Gem diamonds ($4.8 billion, 35.1%)
    --- #2. Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($1.5 billion, 10.6%)
    --- #3. Industrial machines, other ($718.2 million, 5.2%)

    Gem diamonds stand as the significant import and export between the two countries since they signed the Israel-United States Fair Trade Agreement in 1985. U.S. exports to Israel spiked by 456%, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Israel, which has the largest diamond trading floor in the world, also imports $3.6 billion in pharmaceutical preparations to the U.S.

  • #20. Austria

    - Deficit: $9.9 billion (imports to U.S.: $13.5 billion; exports from U.S.: $3.6 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Pharmaceutical preparations ($1.9 billion, 13.9%)
    --- #2. Passenger cars, new and used ($1.1 billion, 8.3%)
    --- #3. Other foods ($966.5 million, 7.2%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Pharmaceutical preparations ($1.2 billion, 33.3%)
    --- #2. Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($266.4 million, 7.5%)
    --- #3. Metallurgical grade coal ($190.2 million, 5.3%)

    Pharmaceutical preparations including insulin, hormones, and steroids are among the top exports from the U.S. to Austria. Major players in the car industry in Austria include BMW, Saab, and Fiat, according to Austria Export.  

  • #19. Saudi Arabia

    - Deficit: $10.5 billion (imports to U.S.: $24.1 billion; exports from U.S.: $13.6 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Crude oil ($21.4 billion, 88.9%)
    --- #2. Fuel oil ($678.7 million, 2.8%)
    --- #3. Petroleum products, other ($481.9 million, 2%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Passenger cars, new and used ($1.7 billion, 12.7%)
    --- #2. Tanks, artillery, missiles, rockets, guns and ammunition ($1.5 billion, 10.8%)
    --- #3. Parts for military-type goods ($873.9 million, 6.4%)

    The trade deficit with the desert country of Saudi Arabia is directly related to oil and petroleum. “We are really at the mercy of Saudi Arabia like never before, even going back to the 1970s,” John Kilduff, Again Capital founding partner, told the Washington Post. Though the U.S. supplied the country with $248.11 million in bombs, grenades, cartridges, and military parts through February 2019, the U.S. still comes up short in trade dealings by $10.5 billion.

  • #18. Iraq

    - Deficit: $10.6 billion (imports to U.S.: $11.9 billion; exports from U.S.: $1.3 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Crude oil ($11.8 billion, 99.5%)
    --- #2. Fuel oil ($59 million, 0.5%)
    --- #3. Tobacco, waxes, etc. ($.4 million, 0%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Wheat ($221.5 million, 16.9%)
    --- #2. Passenger cars, new and used ($144.2 million, 11%)
    --- #3. Industrial engines ($120.4 million, 9.2%)

    Figures from the Office of the U.S. Representative of Trade in 2016 show a trade deficit with Iraq at $4.7 billion. The deficit grew by $5.9 billion in three years to $10.6 billion. Just as sanctions on Iran are negatively affecting the trade of oil with Saudi Arabia, the same is true for Iraq, which is a close ally of Iran.

  • #17. Indonesia

    - Deficit: $12.6 billion (imports to U.S.: $20.9 billion; exports from U.S.: $8.2 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Apparel, textiles, nonwool or cotton ($2.2 billion, 10.8%)
    --- #2. Apparel, household goods - cotton ($2 billion, 9.5%)
    --- #3. Fish and shellfish ($1.9 billion, 9.3%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Soybeans ($1 billion, 12.7%)
    --- #2. Natural gas liquids ($659.1 million, 8%)
    --- #3. Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($602.8 million, 7.3%)

    Indonesia recorded a $540 million trade surplus in March 2019 with imports including raw materials and auxiliary goods to the United States, Japan, and China, the Jakarta Post reported. The U.S. may have a trade deficit with Indonesia of $12.6 billion; however, in 2017 the U.S. won a World Trade Organization ruling against Indonesia for import restrictions on plants, animal products, and food. Indonesia appealed and lost.

  • #16. Russia

    - Deficit: $14.1 billion (imports to U.S.: $20.8 billion; exports from U.S.: $6.7 billion)
    - Top imported goods to U.S.:
    --- #1. Fuel oil ($6.7 billion, 32.2%)
    --- #2. Crude oil ($2 billion, 9.8%)
    --- #3. Steelmaking materials ($1.6 billion, 7.8%)

    - Top exported goods from U.S.:
    --- #1. Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts ($1.9 billion, 28.2%)
    --- #2. Other parts and accessories of vehicles ($313.2 million, 4.7%)
    --- #3. Passenger cars, new and used ($270.9 million, 4.1%)

    Russia gives the U.S. oil, and the U.S., in turn, provides civilian aircraft parts, but trade between the two countries remains in the negative for the U.S. Russia, which also trades heavily with China, Germany, and Ukraine. After oil, the most-traded Russian exports include iron, steel, aluminum, pearls, precious stones, inorganic chemicals, nuclear reactors, and wood charcoal.

2018 All rights reserved.