Trade Statistics

California is one of the 10 largest economies in the world with a gross state product of over $2 trillion. International trade and investment are major parts of our economic engine that broadly benefit businesses, communities, consumers and state government.  California’s economy is diverse, and the state’s prosperity is tied to exports and imports of both goods and services by California-based companies, to exports and imports through California’s transportation gateways, and to movement of human and capital resources.

Although trade is a nationally determined policy issue, its impact on California is immense. In 2016, California exported to 228 foreign markets. Trade offers the opportunity to expand the role of California’s exports. In its broadest terms, trade can literally feed the world and raise the living standards of those around us.

2016 Trade Statistics are available
through the International Trade Administration’s
Trade Stats Express.”
In 2016, California exported $163.6 billion to 228 foreign economies.
California’s top export markets are
Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and Hong Kong.

International Activities

Global Trade Facts

World Trade Outlook Indicator Suggests Moderate Trade Momentum in First Quarter of 2017
The WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) suggests that global trade growth will continue to build moderately in the first quarter of 2017 after having strengthened in the final quarter of last year. Trade-related indicators including air freight, automobile sales, export orders and container shipping have all registered solid gains in recent months, auguring for faster growth in merchandise trade volumes in the first few months of the year.
World Trade Organization, February 14, 2017

WTO launches new annual statistical publication
The WTO launched a new annual statistical publication — the “World Trade Statistical Review” — on 21 July. This new publication provides insights into how world trade has evolved in recent years by analysing the latest trade statistics within an economic context.World Trade Statistical Review replaces the WTO’s previous annual statistical publication, International Trade Statistics
World Trade Organization, July 21, 2016

Trade growth to remain subdued in 2016 as uncertainties weigh on global demand
World Trade Organization, April 7, 2016

Statement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on International Trade in Goods and Services in 2015
U.S. Department of Commerce, February 5, 2016

Jobs Attributable to Foreign Direct Investment in the United States
U.S. Department of Commerce, February 2016

Commerce Department Releases Reports Ranking Top Export Markets
U.S. Department of Commerce, May 24, 2016

According to the April 2016 World Trade Organization (WTO) report, world trade growth (GDP) grew slightly to 2.8%, up from 2.1% in 2012 and a sharp deceleration from the 2010 rebound of 13.8%. Growth is forecasted to remain at 2.8% in 2016 and to grow to 3.6% in 2017. The slow pace of growth in the past few years was attributed to prolonged sluggish growth in GDP following the financial crisis

“Trade is still registering positive growth, albeit at a disappointing rate,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said. “This will be the fifth consecutive year of trade growth below 3%. Moreover, while the volume of global trade is growing, its value has fallen because of shifting exchange rates and falls in commodity prices. This could undermine fragile economic growth in vulnerable developing countries. There remains as well the threat of creeping protectionism as many governments continue to apply trade restrictions and the stock of these barriers continues to grow.”

“However, we should keep these figures in perspective. WTO Members can take a number steps to use trade to lift global economic growth — from rolling back trade restrictive measures, to implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. This Agreement will dramatically cut trade costs around the world, thereby potentially boosting trade by up to $1 trillion a year,” Azevêdo added. “More can also be done to address remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers on exports of agricultural and manufactured goods.”

WTO economists cautioned that preliminary trade figures for 2015 and forecasts for 2016 were difficult to gauge due to the extraordinary levels of volatility in financial markets and in the broader economy for the last few years.

U.S. Trade Facts

According to the World Bank, the United States is the world’s largest economy with a GDP of $17.9 trillion.

The largest export markets for U.S. goods in 2016  were Canada ($265.9 billion, down 5.2 percent), Mexico ($230.9 billion, down 2 percent), China ($115.7 billion, down 0.3 percent), and Japan ($63.2 billion, 1.3 percent increase).

Annual Summary for 2016
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis –

California Trade Facts

U.S. Department of Commerce reported that, in 2016, California exports amounted to  $163.6 billion. This is a decrease from the 2015 total of $165.4 billion. California maintained its perennial position as a top exporting state.

Exports from California accounted for 11 percent of total U.S. exports in 2016. California’s top export destinations are Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and Hong Kong. California trade and exports translate into high-paying jobs for over one million Californians.

Top Export Sectors

California is a top exporter in the nation of computers, electronic products, and sales of food and kindred products. Computers and electronic products are California’s top export, accounting for 26.1 percent of all the state’s exports.

According to a study conducted by Tech America in February 2014, California is the second largest tech exporting state after Texas.

Other top categories included transportation equipment, machinery, except electrical, and misc. manufactured commodities.

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts using 2011 data, creative industries led by Hollywood employ 2 million people and add about $504 billion to the U.S. GDP.

Hollywood, Creative Industries Add $504 Billion to U.S. GDP
Associated Press, December 5, 2013


Mexico continues to be California’s number one export market. California exports to Mexico slightly decreased to $25.3 billion in 2016, down from $26.8 billion in 2015. Mexico purchases 15.4 percent of all California exports.

California’s exports to Mexico are driven by computers and electronic products, which account for 21.7 percent of all California exports to Mexico. Other top categories included transportation equipment, machinery, except electrical, and chemicals.


Canada is California’s second largest export market, purchasing 9.9 percent of all California exports. In 2016, California exported over $16.2 billion to Canada.

Computers and electronic products remained California’s largest exports, accounting for 32.2 percent of all California exports to Canada.


California is the largest exporting state to Asia. In 2016, California exported $68.7 billion in goods to the region.

Greater China

California exports to Mainland China totaled $14.4 billion in 2016. Computers and electronic products accounted for 29.9 percent of exports to China.

Exports to Hong Kong were $9.6 billion in 2016, maintaining Hong Kong’s spot as California’s number 5 export destination, just above South Korea.


California exports to Japan totaled $11.76 billion in 2016. Computers and electronic products accounted for 23.7 percent of total exports.

European Union

California exports to the European Union (28) totaled $29.7 billion in 2016. California is the top exporting state to Europe. Computers, electronic products, chemicals, transportation equipment, and miscellaneous manufactured commodities are our leading export sectors to the region. European Union countries purchase 18.2 percent of all California exports.

Export Totals from California

Jobs Supported by State Exports 2015
ITA, March 31, 2016

How States Benefit from Trade
Trade Benefits America, April 2016

Trade Policy Review: United States of America

California: Expanding Exports and Supporting Jobs through Trade Agreements
US Department of Commerce, February 26, 2015

California: Exports, Jobs, and Foreign Investment
ITA – April 2014

How California’s Economy Benefits from International Trade and Investment
Business Roundtable

U.S. Services Exports: California
Coalition of Services Industries, February 2015

Fast Facts on the California Economy
Compiled by: Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy – 09/2013


WTO Trade Statistics 2013 Editions

Additional Information