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Key Economic Trends

  • The U.S. trade deficit in chemicals and related products increased by $4.4 billion (27 percent) to $21.0 billion in 2010, as imports rebounded from the recession-induced trade declines of 2009 faster than exports. The trade deficit with Ireland grew by $4.9 billion (27 percent) to $23.1 billion, more than offsetting the multibillion-dollar trade balance improvements recorded with Mexico and the United Kingdom.
  • U.S. exports of miscellaneous plastic products rose 20 percent to a record $21.2 billion in 2010, as improving U.S. trading-partner economies drove demand for consumer goods and packaging articles, whereas U.S. exports of ETBE, an organic chemical and gasoline additive made from ethanol, increased $834 million in 2010 because EU and Japanese government policies encouraged renewable fuel use.
  • The economic recovery from the 200809 recession led to a $35.5 billion (20 percent) increase in U.S. imports of chemicals and related products in 2010 to $218.0 billion, with Ireland and Canada accounting for 29 percent of the growth in sector imports. U.S. imports of primary petrochemicals and fertilizers increased because of higher demand and the improved outlook for domestic crop production.

Trade Shifts from 2009 to 2010

  • U.S. trade deficit: Increased by $4.4 billion (27 percent) to $21.0 billion
  • U.S. exports: Increased by $31.1 billion (19 percent) to $197.0 billion
  • U.S. imports: Increased by $35.5 billion (20 percent) to $218.0 billion

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