US-APEC Trade Statistics
APEC has 21 member-countries, including Canada, Russia, Mexico, and Chile as well as countries in Asia and the Pacific. APEC members account for 44% of world trade and 54% of the world’s total GDP. U.S. imports of APEC goods totaled $1.5 trillion in 2013, while exports of goods to APEC countries totaled $971 billion, representing 61% of all U.S. exports. The five largest export markets are:
- Canada ($301 billion)
- Mexico ($226 billion)
- China ($121 billion)
- Japan ($65 billion)
- Hong Kong ($42 billion)
Exporting to China is challenging for most U.S. small businesses. Approximately 300,000 American companies with less than 500 employees export to China, but China is a complex market and many Chinese companies lack the logistical capabilities needed to handle inbound shipments. US companies also face endless red tape and paperwork. The Chinese tend to be incredibly price sensitive, further eroding profits.
Nonetheless, China offers opportunities, particularly for manufacturers of high-end foods and luxury goods. The U.S. Commercial Service and Small Business Administration will help U.S. small business find resources to export to China and other countries. The Commerce department can help vet potential buyers, while a good freight forwarder can assist with the necessary documents. Generally, exporting to China is a long-term goal that requires patience and planning. It also requires developing personal, face-to-face relationships with Chinese import customers.
Hong Kong is an autonomous territory south of mainland China. While tied to China politically, Hong Kong maintains its own foreign relations and a free trade economy. U.S. exports to Hong Kong in 2015 totaled $47.2 billion, making Hong Kong our 9th largest goods exports market. The top export categories are:
- Gold, diamonds, jewelry
- Electrical machinery
- Art and antiques
Japan is the world’s third largest economy and the fourth largest buyer of American-made goods. It is also a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) along with 11 other countries. TPP members account for nearly 40% of the world’s GDP. The top exports to Japan include:
- Civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, parts
- Medical equipment
- Meat and poultry
Southeast Asia is a viable market for small U.S. companies since TPP efforts to reduce corruption have begun to take hold elsewhere in Asia. Indonesia has already signed agreements to boost trade with the U.S., with agricultural products being an important U.S. export to the region. It has expressed interest in joining TPP, which would level the playing field for U.S. companies and increase transparency.
Australia is a highly developed consumer economy. The U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement eliminated tariffs (that averaged 4.3%) on 99% of the U.S. goods exported to Australia. For the first time, American companies can compete for Australian government purchases on an equal footing. Exports to Australia are expected to grow significantly. Categories include:
- Machinery (mining and farming)
- Vehicles, especially motorcycles
- Medical and optical equipment
- Electrical machinery