How much does your state rely on trade?

June 15, 2018

The Trump administration on Friday slapped a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods and threatened further tariffs. The Chinese government, however, has warned of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products such as airplanes, automobiles, sorghum, soybeans, meat and whiskey. Following the White House’s announcement, China’s spokesman of Commerce issued a statement calling the United States’ imposition of tariffs “short-sighted behavior,” and confirmed the world’s second-largest economy intends to “immediately introduce taxation measures of the same scale and the same strength”.

China is not the only country on the brink of a trade war with the United States. The G7 Summit hosted in Charlevoix, Quebec, on June 8 and 9, 2018, was marked by controversy as tensions over trade policy between the United States and the other member countries came to a head.

A week before the Summit, President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, and president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude, have voiced their disapproval of Trump’s tariffs and made a verbal commitment to fight back with retaliatory tariffs.

How has the United States fared within the global market, specifically when it comes to the import and export value of states? The U.S. Census Bureau publishes data on the value of imports and exports down to the state level. The U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, a report published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, found that imports and exports increased by $182.5 billion and $121.2 billion between 2016 and 2017, respectively.   

Opponents of the tariffs contend a trade war with our Western allies and enforcement of protectionist trade policies threatens to destabilize the United States’ import and export value of goods.  Unfortunately, a trade war is not new territory for our country. In 1930, the United States implemented the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which sparked a trade war by raising tariffs on 20,000 imported goods. Canada and European countries retaliated by increasing their nation’s tariffs on the United States. The election of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932 led to a change in United States trade policy, as well as his campaign promise to lower tariffs.

With a trade war looming between the United States and its traditional Western allies, Truth in Accounting’s State Data Lab contains information on the import and export values of each state.

In 2017, the top regional exporters across the United States were Texas with exports valued at $264.54 billion; followed by California, $172.01 billion; New York, $77.91 billion; Illinois, $65.19 billion; and Louisiana, $57.01 billion. Texas leads the country in export value with its top, most lucrative commodities being petrol oil and bituminous minerals.

The three states with the highest import value of goods are California, $440.58 billion; Texas, $263.64 billion; and Michigan, $140.22 billion. Hmmm… it seems California is in a trade deficit wasteland.

Check out the maps below to see how your state fares:

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