CPA Trade Database

US Advanced Technology Trade and Sub-Sectors

  • US Advanced Tech Trade Balance: Although the US is the acknowledged world leader in many technology areas, we scored a record trade deficit of $129B in advanced technology in 2018. The next ten graphs show our trade balance in each of the ten sub-sectors that make up US Advanced Technology Trade as defined by the US Census Bureau.
  • Advanced Materials: Advanced materials include materials that enable the development of and application of other advanced technologies, such as semiconductor materials. Trade in these materials has been slightly negative in recent years.
  • Aerospace: The Aerospace sector includes military and civilian helicopters, airplanes and spacecraft. The US is an export powerhouse in this sector, consistently delivering our strongest surplus in advanced technology.
  • Biotechnology: The Biotechnology sector focuses on advances in genetics applied to the development of new drugs, hormones and other therapeutic items. Previously in surplus, this sector scored a deficit of -$16.4B in 2018 as US drug manufacture continues to be offshored.
  • Electronics: The Electronics sector includes electronic components such as integrated circuits, circuit boards, and other components.
  • Flexible Manufacturing: Flexible Manufacturing includes advances in robotics, numerically-controlled machine tools, and similar products that enable industrial automation.
  • Information and Communications: Information and Communications includes computer products, central processing units, peripherals such as disk drives, and telephone switching equipment. Our huge deficit in this sector, $173.6B last year, dominated the total Advanced Technology trade balance.
  • Life Science: Life Science concentrates on the application of scientific advances (other than biological) to medical science, such as nuclear resonance imaging, echocardiography, and many other innovations.
  • Nuclear Technology: Nuclear Technology encompasses nuclear power production apparatus, nuclear reactors and parts, and related products.
  • Opto-Electronics: Opto-Electronics encompasses electronic products using the emission or detection of light such as optical scanners, solar cells, laser printers, and photo-sensitive semiconductors.
  • Weapons: Weapons includes products with military applications such as guided missiles, bombs, torpedoes, mines, and others. The US has run a persistent export surplus in this sector.


Source: US Department of Commerce