Legacy Publication

You are here

U.S. International Trade in Transportation-Related Goods

U.S. International Trade in Transportation-Related Goods

The United States traded $299.6 billion worth (in current dollars1) of transportation-related goods (e.g., cars, trains, boats, and airplanes and their related parts) in 2002 with its partners (figure 96). Although motor vehicles and automotive parts constituted by far the largest share of U.S. international trade in transportation-related goods ($233.0 billion) in 2002, trade in aircraft, spacecraft, and parts ($61.9 billion) generated the largest single surplus of any transportation-related commodity category ($25.9 billion) [1]. This surplus was due to trade with several partners, particularly the United Kingdom. The only deficits for aircraft products were with France and Canada, countries that have large aviation manufacturing sectors (see box).

As is the case with overall international trade, the United States had a merchandise trade deficit in transportation-related exports and imports, totaling $82.1 billion in 2002 (figure 97). The deficit arose from a $108.0 billion U.S. trade deficit for motor vehicles and parts, which accounted for 23 percent of the total U.S. merchandise trade deficit of $470.3 billion. Over one-third of the motor vehicles and parts deficit involved U.S. trade with Japan, while about one-fifth was with Canada [2].

The United States had a relatively small deficit ($90 million) in trade of ships, boats, and floating structures in 2002, following a $693 million surplus in 2001 [1]. A $53 million trade surplus for railway locomotives and parts was down from $149 million in 2001. The 2002 surplus can largely be attributed to the United States supplying railcars and parts to Canada, the largest U.S. trade partner for rail products [2].


1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, calculations based on data from U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. International Trade Commission, Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb, available at http://dataweb.usitc.gov/, as of February 2003.

2. _____, U.S. International Trade and Freight Transportation Trends (Washington, DC: 2003).

1 All dollar amounts in this section are in current dollars. While it is important to compare trends in economic activity using constant or chained dollars to eliminate the effects of price inflation, it is not possible to do so in this instance (see note on the figure and tables 96 and 97 in appendix B).

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017