Latest U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Released by the Commerce Department

By: Melissa Proctor (Polsinelli, P.C.)

On May 4, 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, published its most recent report on U.S. international trade in goods and services. These reports are published on a monthly basis, and provide key trade statistics on the well-being of the U.S. economy and the country’s global trade outlook. The following provides some highlights—


  • S. Trade Deficit: The U.S. international trade deficit in goods and services decreased to $40.4 billion in March 2016 (from $47.0 billion in February) as imports decreased more than exports.


  • Total U.S. Exports in March 2016: U.S. exports of goods were $116.8 billion in March 2016 (down from $118.7 billion in February), with the largest decreases seen in the consumer goods sector (decrease of $1.6 billion), pharmaceutical preparations (decrease of $0.8 billion) and in gem diamonds ($0.7 billion).


  • Total U.S. Imports in March 2016:S. imports of goods decreased $7.8 billion in March to $173.6 billion. Specifically, imports of consumer goods decreased $5.1 billion, reflecting slow-downs in toys, games, and sporting goods ($1.1 billion) and in textile apparel and household goods ($0.6 billion).


  • S. Trade with the European Union (EU): U.S. exports to the EU increased $2.1 billion (primarily civilian aircraft and nonmonetary gold) to $24.6 billion, while imports from the EU increased $5.2 billion (primarily passenger cars and pharmaceutical preparations) to $37.7 billion.


  • S. Trade with China: U.S. exports to China increased $0.9 billion (primarily industrial machines, civilian aircraft, and semiconductors) to $9.0 billion, while imports from China decreased $6.3 billion (primarily toys, games, and sporting goods, textile apparel, household goods) to $29.9 billion.


  • S. Trade with Canada: U.S. exports to Canada increased $2.3 billion (primarily passenger cars and automobiles) to $23.1 billion, while imports from Canada increased $1.4 billion (primarily passenger cars and civilian aircraft) to $23.2 billion.


  • Top 10 Export Countries for U.S. Companies: The top 10 destination countries for U.S. exports for the period January 1 – March 31, 2016 were as follows: Canada; Mexico; China; Japan; United Kingdom; Germany; South Korea; Netherlands; Hong Kong; and, Belgium.


  • Top 10 Import Countries: The top 10 countries from which goods were imported into the United States for the same period of time were: China; Mexico; Canada; Japan; Germany; South Korea; United Kingdom; France; India; and, Italy.


  • Top U.S. Exporting States/Territories: The top exporting states/territories in March 2016 were as follows: Texas; California; Washington; Georgia; South Carolina; Louisiana; Puerto Rico; New York; Alabama; and, Idaho (in that order).


  • Where Arizona Ranks: Arizona ranked 24th in exports as compared to other states (in terms of value and volume of exports from the United States) for March 2016 (representing 1.2% of total U.S. exports), and 23rd for the year to date. In terms of imports, Arizona ranked 26th for March 2016 (representing 1% of total U.S. imports), and 24th for the year to date.


By way of background, information on U.S. exports of goods is collected from the data relating to export shipments made from the various states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and U.S. foreign trade zones to foreign countries. Export values are calculated based on the FAS (Free Alongside Ship) value of the goods at the U.S. port of export (i.e., the transaction value of the goods plus costs for inland freight, insurance and other charges to bring the goods alongside the carrier).


In contrast, U.S. import data is based on the total entries of merchandise from foreign countries that either enter U.S. commerce for consumption immediately upon their clearance through customs, or are withdrawn for consumption from U.S. bonded warehouses or foreign trade zones. Import values are calculated based on the transaction value of the imported goods (i.e., the price actually paid or payable for the goods) with deductions made for duties, freight, insurance and other charges incurred.

To view the entire report online, see: The next report is scheduled to be released on June 3, 2016.

Melissa Proctor is a Shareholder with Polsinelli, P.C. who has significant experience in the customs laws and regulations, export controls, economic sanctions, and international trade. She may be reached at (602) 650-2002 or via e-mail at