Top 5 US Exports in 2017

Exports from the U.S. have grown from $448bn to $1.55tn over the last 25 years, but which export categories make the most money?

The United States has 248 export categories valued over $1bn, three times higher than a quarter of a century ago.

But aside from the stereotypical exports from The States like cotton and corn, medicines, meat and gold, which are the top export market categories that really rake in dollars?

Here are the top 5 U.S. exports in 2017:


Aircraft is far and away the largest export category in terms of monetary value from the U.S. – one-third more valuable than the second export on this list alone.

China follows in second but someway behind. One thing that’s certain is the likes of Boeing would not relish a trade war between the world’s two export powerhouses.


The value of the gasoline market has increased massively in recent years, despite the clamour from governments to turn to renewable energy sources and global businesses to be seen as green.

Last year, gasoline (including other refined petroleum products) raked in just under $77.5bn whilst Mexico holds 27% market share and Canada 11%.

Motor Vehicles

It’s estimated that this year foreign motor brands will produce more vehicles in the United States than U.S. firms will. Last year, a majority of these exports entered the Canadian, Chinese and Mexican markets with fourteen U.S. ports exporting more than $1b each throughout the year.

Motor Vehicle Parts

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the nations that lead in motor vehicle exports also makes a lot of money exporting individual motor parts. However, the motor industry is wary of potential NAFTA disruption which could change the face of the auto-exporting industry.

Computer Chips

The first ‘modern’ export to make the top-5 U.S. export categories is that of computer chips. Given the small size of the export, most of the product travel abroad via airfreight – 50% of which from just four airports in Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco and Cleveland.

What other products are also leading exports for the U.S.? Food, beverage and feed was the top value category when combined worth some $133bn. Soybeans made up $22bn of this, with meat and poultry just behind at $18bn.

In terms of services, travel and transportation ($136bn), finance and insurance ($76bn) and intellectual property sales ($49bn) account for the most.