The US has suffered trade deficits for so long we sometimes forget we still export things. A lot of things, actually – the US is the world’s third biggest exporter, behind China (of course) and (perhaps more surprisingly) Germany.
Our top export markets: Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the UK. What do they buy from us? Well, the U.S. is the world’s biggest exporter of services (also the biggest importer of services). Other major exports from the U.S. include airplanes, vacuum tubes, motor vehicles and telecommunications. But here are five export stars that might surprise you:
- Craft beers. Overall exports of craft beers (Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, and microbreweries) rose 9 percent in 2010. The US exported 1.4 billion in wines and beers through October of 2011.
- Offal. The US is a major exporter of tripe and other meat byproducts. About a quarter of America’s $10.6 billion meat exports were offal.
- Numismatics. Yes, coins are in big demand abroad. The US exported $836 million in numismatics through October, up more than 40 percent over the 464 million exported in the same period in 2010. Driving this jump:higher prices for gold and other metals.
- Whiskey. The U.S. exported $1.4 billion in alcoholic beverages (excluding beer and wine) through October 2011, and about 60 percent of that was for Tennessee whiskeys, Kentucky bourbons and the like. US whiskey isn’t a match for Scotch yet ($5.5 billion worth of exports in 2010), but it’s up $300 million over 2010 sales through October. And in 2012,free trade agreements with spirits-loving South Korea and Colombia should mean a year to toast for U.S. whiskey makers.
- Fuel. The US has some of the best refining capabilities in the world, and fuel is often amongst our most valuable exports. But this year, for the first time in 60 years, we exported more fuel than we imported,in part because oil prices are so high, and in part because Americans are using less fuel, in part due to economic doldrums. But we also were on pace to become the world’s largest exporter of ethanol. Higher demand elsewhere meant better prices for refiners.