The U.S. balance of trade with the world

The United States runs a deficit or surplus with its trading partners around the world that shifts from year to year. The country had an overall trade deficit of $568.4 billion dollars for goods and services in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Here are the balances with 19 countries or groups for that year, in billions of dollars

Trade balances in 2017

The figure for the European Union includes Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, which are listed separately in the chart as well. Similarly, the figures for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) includes Saudi Arabia, and Brazil is included in Central/South America.

Trade deficits and surpluses shift over time

Many countries shift over time from having surpluses or deficits with the United States. Before we show you the whole world’s U.S. trade picture since 1999, let’s look at just two countries, Brazil and Canada. In this chart, the thickness of the colored shape represents the size of the trade balance with the United States and the position above or below the $0 line indicates whether the United States has a surplus or deficit with that country.

So for example, with Brazil, the United States had a slight trading surplus from 1999 to 2002, then went into a deficit with them until 2007 and has had surpluses ever since.

With Canada, the United States had a trade deficit, sometimes substantial, from 1999 up to 2014, when it jumped up above the $0 line and registered a surplus for 2015-2017. In these charts you’ll sometimes see a narrow little bridge when a country switches from deficit to surplus or vice versa. You can learn the amount of the deficit or surplus by clicking on the dots along the line.

Watching the whole world

Here are the figures for 19 countries or groups. That big pinch you see in the middle of the chart reflects the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on world trade in the following year.

And here are the figures in a table