Federal Reserve Economic Data: Your trusted data source since 1991

The FRED® Blog

The high-tech trade balance

Importing and exporting U.S. aerospace, nuclear, and weaponry technology

The graph above shows FRED data on U.S. exports and imports of advanced technology products, which include the categories of advanced materials, aerospace, biotechnology, electronics, flexible manufacturing, information and communications technology, life sciences, optoelectronics, nuclear technology, and weapons. A report from the Brookings Institution noted that the advanced technology sector in the U.S. added $143 billion to GDP in 2013-15 and accounted for more than 20 percent of the growth of the economy. Despite the boost from this sector, the graph shows that the U.S. has turned from a net exporter to a net importer of these products. Now, these products are subject not only to market forces but also to export regulations and restrictions. Indeed, U.S. national interests prevent some technologies from being exported to some countries. In any case, this part of the trade deficit is minor compared with the total trade deficit, as shown in the graph below.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph, search for “advanced technology products,” which should give you the two series (exports and imports). Select them and click on “Add to Graph.” For the second graph, start with the first graph, but remove the imports series. Use the “Customize data” section to add that imports series to the first line (the exports series); then apply formula a-b. Add the second line to the graph by searching for and selecting “Trade Balance: Goods and Service, Balance of Payments Basis.”

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: BOPGTB, EXP0007, IMP0007

Subscribe to the FRED newsletter

Follow us

Back to Top