Visualising U.S. Exports & Imports

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its data on U.S. trade in goods by selected countries and world region for 2015. We built three maps to provide a proportional visualization of the trade that occurs between the U.S. and other countries. Exports are represented in green, imports are represented in red, and the balance (exports - imports) is represented by red or green depending on whether the U.S. has exported more or less goods than it has imported. For instance, if a country’s imports exceeds its exports, the country will experience a trade deficit, which represents an outflow of domestic currency to foreign markets. Based on the data, the U.S. exported over $1.5 trillion and imported over $2.2 trillion in goods throughout 2015. This leaves leaves the U.S. with a negative balance of $735 billion!

Largest Balances by Country

Take a look at the top 5 countries with the largest balances (positive and negative):

Top 5 Positive Balances

  • Hong Kong: $30.5 billion

  • Netherlands: $24.0 billion

  • Belgium: $14.6 billion

  • Australia: $14.2 billion

  • Singapore: $10.4 billion

Top 5 Negative Balances

  • China: $365.7 billion

  • Germany: $74.2 billion

  • Japan: $68.6 billion

  • Mexico: $58.4 billion

  • Ireland: $30.4 billion

Top 5 Countries for Exports

Take a look at the top 5 countries that the U.S. has exported goods to:

  • Canada: $280.3 billion

  • Mexico: $236.4 billion

  • China: $116.2 billion

  • Japan: $62.5 billion

  • United Kingdom: $56.4 billion

Together the top 5 countries make up about 50% of all U.S. exports.

Top 5 Countries for Imports

Take a look at the top 5 countries that the U.S. has imported goods from:

  • China: $481.9 billion

  • Canada: $295.2 billion

  • Mexico: $294.7 billion

  • Japan: $131.1 billion

  • Germany: $124.1 billion

Together the top 5 countries make up about 59% of all U.S. imports.

Maintaining a Balance in Trade

Looking at the data by area shows that South/Central America, OPEC and Africa are the only regions with positive balances, whereas North America, Europe, and Pacific Rim areas show a negative balance. Interestingly, China, which as a negative balance of $365.7 billion represents ~80% of the negative balance attributed to the Pacific Rim countries and ~50% of the overall negative balance! To put this into perspective, the continent of Europe represents only ~23% of the overall negative balance for selected countries.

How can the U.S. close the gap between imports and exports?

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