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Machinery

Machinery

Changes in 2020 from 2019:

  • U.S. total exports of machinery products: Decreased by $10.5 billion (7.7 percent) to $127.1 billion
    • U.S. domestic exports of machinery products: Decreased by $9.1 billion (7.9 percent) to $106.8 billion
    • U.S. re-exports of machinery products: Decreased by $1.4 billion (6.6 percent) to $20.3 billion
  • U.S. general imports of machinery products: Decreased by $7.4 billion (3.5 percent) to $204.8 billion

The value of U.S. domestic exports of machinery[1] decreased by $9.1 billion (7.9 percent) to $106.8 billion in 2020, with Canada and Mexico accounting for the largest decreases (table MT.1).[2] U.S. exports of machinery were down for all major trading partners except for China, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. Most sector digests experienced decreased exports, with the largest drops in value being for farm and garden machinery and equipment; miscellaneous machinery; taps, cocks, valves and similar devices; household appliances; and air-conditioning equipment and parts (table MT.1). While four machinery digests experienced growth in exports, the semiconductor manufacturing equipment and robotics digest accounted for most of this increase (table MT.1).

The value of U.S. general imports of machinery decreased by $7.4 billion (3.5 percent) to $204.8 billion from 2019 to 2020. Japan, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands accounted for the largest decreases in U.S. imports while South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia were the only countries with sizable increases (table MT.1). U.S. imports saw the greatest decrease in the semiconductor manufacturing equipment and robotics, taps, cocks, valves, and similar devices; metal cutting machine tools; mechanical power transmissions equipment; and pumps for liquids digests (table MT.2). In contrast, there were increases in the value of U.S. imports in the household appliances digest, including commercial applications; centrifuges and filtering and purifying equipment; electrical transformers; static converters and inductors; portable electric hand tools; and wrapping, packaging, and can-sealing machinery digests.

U.S. Domestic Exports

The largest decline in U.S. exports among machinery digests occurred in farm and garden machinery and equipment, which continued its downward trend (but at a faster rate than during 2018–19), as exports declined by $1.6 billion (16.4 percent) from $9.5 billion in 2019 to $8.0 billion in 2020.[3] This decrease was primarily led by declines in the top two destination markets for U.S. exports under this digest (Canada and Mexico) as well as a large decrease in exports to Brazil. Exports to Canada declined by $410 million (15.4 percent), exports to Mexico declined by $323 million (19.6 percent), and exports to Brazil declined by $204 million (47.6 percent).[4] During 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shutdowns of schools, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues triggered significant decreases in demand for certain fresh crops as well as supply chain disruptions.[5] This resulted in farmers being left with a surplus of perishable food items and lost income, which likely stifled demand for new farming and gardening equipment.

U.S. exports of miscellaneous machinery decreased by $1.6 billion (14.8 percent), from $10.5 billion in 2019 to $9.0 billion in 2020.[6] This decrease was largely driven by decreases in exports of various machinery parts, and this ended the trend of U.S. miscellaneous machinery exports increasing annually from 2016 to 2019 (table MT.1). Globally, the machinery industry experienced many setbacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. manufacturers faced supply chain disruptions which fostered delays, increased costs, and uncertainty in addition to decreasing demand in the machinery sector.[7] For example, the shutdown of many Chinese factories further disrupted global supply chains and hindered global production.[8] Moreover, facility shutdowns and cancelled orders led to decreased overall employment in the machinery industry, culminating in the lowest recorded employment levels since 2010.[9]

The value of U.S. exports of taps, cocks, and valves declined by $1.2 billion (12.0 percent), from $10.0 billion in 2019 to $8.8 billion in 2020.[10] The largest declines were in exports to Mexico at $333 million (20.0 percent), Canada at $293 million (14.7 percent), and the United Kingdom at $104 million (20.3 percent) in 2020.[11] Taps, cocks, valves, and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, and vats posed the largest decrease by value within this product group (down $399 million or 20.9 percent).[12] Products within this digest are used in a variety of sectors including construction, automobiles, energy, and more. Widespread shutdowns and declining demand in these sectors led to decreased exports in this digest.

U.S. exports of household appliances, including commercial applications, decreased by $1.1 billion (14.9 percent) from $7.5 billion in 2019 to $6.4 billion in 2020.[13] This decrease followed a much smaller decrease from 2018 to 2019. This shift in exports came mainly from a decrease in the exportation of refrigerating or freezing equipment ($338 million or 24.4 percent)[14] and machinery and equipment for making hot food or drinks ($195 million or 32.7 percent).[15] This decline in exports was due to production shortages for various home appliances related to the global semiconductor chip shortage that occurred for much of 2020, with some appliance companies noting that semiconductor chip orders were as much as 10 percent short in the early months of 2020.[16]

U.S. exports for air-conditioning equipment and parts fell by $903 million (11.9 percent), from $7.6 billion in 2019 to $6.7 billion in 2020, mainly due to decreases in exports of turbocharger and supercharger air compressors ($137 million or 31.2 percent), compressors of a kind used in refrigerating equipment ($125 million or 13.1 percent), and parts for air conditioners ($114 million or 12.2 percent).[17] Decreases in exports to Canada ($343 million or 15.5 percent), Mexico ($245 million or 14.8 percent), and the United Kingdom ($104 million or 28.3 percent) accounted for 76.5 percent of the overall decrease.[18] This decrease continued a downward trend since 2017 in U.S. exports of air-conditioning equipment and parts, with the rate of decrease continuing to grow.

Semiconductor manufacturing equipment was the only digest in this sector to see sizable increases in U.S. exports in 2020 (3.3 billion or 17.0 percent).[19] After a small lull in 2019, exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment rebounded past 2018 values (table MT.1). China became the largest destination for U.S. exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment in 2020 for the first time.[20] This increase in demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment is due in large part to continued government investments coupled with equipment research and manufacturing related programs aimed at expanding the semiconductor chip manufacturing industry in China.[21] With the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for computers and other electrical equipment increased globally, with server demand and memory experiencing the largest increases.[22]

U.S. General Imports

U.S. imports of machinery decreased in value across most machinery digests from 2019 to 2020. More than half of this decrease occurred in semiconductor manufacturing equipment and robotics ($2.4 billion or 13.3 percent), taps, cocks, valves, and similar devices ($2.3 billion or 14.9 percent), metal cutting machinery (1.5 billion or 28.0 percent), mechanical power transmission equipment ($1.2 billion or 18.0 percent) and pumps for liquids ($1.1 billion or 13.5 percent). Despite the overall decrease in U.S. imports, there were increases in U.S. imports in household appliances ($2.3 billion or 7.9 percent), centrifuges and filtering and purifying equipment (1.0 billion or 12.9 percent), electrical transformers, static converters, and inductors (968 million or 7.7 percent), portable electric hand tools ($743 million or 16.1 percent), and wrapping, packaging, and can-sealing machinery ($298 million or 8.7 percent).

The value of U.S. total imports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and robotics decreased by $2.4 billion (13.3 percent), from $18.1 billion in 2019 to $15.7 billion in 2020. This marks the first year that imports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment have decreased since 2016. This shift was led by declines in U.S. imports from Japan of $1.6 billion (25.0 percent), from the Netherlands of $688 million (29.6 percent), and from Germany of $206 million (10.8 percent) in 2020.[23] The decline in this digest is entirely attributed to one HTS subheading, 8486.20.00, which is where machines used in semiconductor or electronic integrated circuit manufacturing are classified.[24] U.S. imports of this HTS subheading declined by almost $2.6 billion, even though the quantity of imports in 2020 rose. This suggests a shift in the composition of U.S. imports towards cheaper machinery under this subheading, likely more for circuit production than semiconductor production. [25]

The value of U.S. imports of taps, cocks, and valves decreased by $2.3 billion (14.9 percent), from $15.1 billion in 2019 to $12.8 billion in 2020. This shift was led by declines in U.S. imports from China ($604 million or 16.8 percent), Germany ($283 million or 20.5 percent), Mexico ($233 million or 9.2 percent), and Japan ($228 million or 16.4 percent) in 2020.[26] The overall decline in imports can likely be attributed to supply chain disruption caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising cost of steel.[27]

The value of U.S. total imports of metal cutting machine tools decreased by $1.5 billion (28.0 percent), from $5.2 billion in 2019 to $3.8 billion in 2020.[28] The machine tool industry is historically a cyclical industry that experiences years of decreased consumption after years of increased consumption, so the continued decline in imports from the 2018 peak is not without precedent.[29] The latest downturn in the U.S. cutting tool market was compounded by the decrease in sales throughout 2020 in other industries such as aerospace and motor vehicles.[30]

U.S. imports of mechanical power transmission equipment decreased by $1.2 billion (18.0 percent), from $6.5 billion in 2019 to $5.3 billion in 2020.[31] This was expected after production costs increased due to tariffs being placed on steel and other components to mechanical power transmission equipment.[32] Almost half of this change came from a decrease in imports of fixed, multiple, and variable ratio speed changers, ones not used in machines for making cellulosic pulp, paper, or paperboard.[33]

U.S. imports of household appliances, including commercial appliances, increased by $2.3 billion (7.9 percent), from $29.1 billion in 2019 to $31.4 billion in 2020, representing the largest import increase within the machinery digest.[34] The largest shifts were led by increases in imports from China of $1.5 billion (11.9 percent), from South Korea of $536 million (24.1 percent), from Thailand of $307 million (35.8 percent), and from Vietnam of $221 million (59.0 percent) in 2020.[35] With more consumers working from or quarantining at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for household appliances increased and supply chain disruptions led to a shortage of household appliances in 2020.[36] Following earlier plant re-openings in China, manufacturers were able to ramp up production to meet demand.[37]

U.S. imports of centrifuges and filtering and purifying equipment increased by $1.0 billion (12.9 percent) from $7.9 billion in 2019 to $8.9 billion in 2020.[38] This shift was led by increases in imports from China of $583 million (64.3 percent), from South Korea of $90 million (31.7 percent), from Japan of $85 million (17.1 percent), and from Canada of $63 million (6.5 percent) in 2020.[39] Dust collection and air purifiers contributed more than half of this increase along with catalytic converters and water filtering machinery filling the gaps.[40] This comes from an increase in global demand for air filters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.[41] As for catalytic converters, this increase was caused by a wave of increased demand for passenger vehicles with a mix of more stringent fuel norms.[42]

U.S. total imports of electrical transformers, static converters, and inductors increased by $968 million (7.7 percent), from $12.7 billion in 2019 to $13.6 billion in 2020.[43] This shift was led by increases in imports from Vietnam of $258 million (90.0 percent), from Japan of $248 million (36.3 percent), and from Thailand of $216 million (70.0 percent) in 2020.[44] China remained the largest supplier to the U.S. with $3.4 billion in value, while Mexico was the second-largest with $2.8 billion.[45] This was the fifth consecutive year U.S. imports of this digest have increased.[46]

U.S. imports of portable electric hand tools increased by $743 million (16.1 percent), from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $5.4 billion in 2020.[47] The primary source for this increase was a large increase of U.S. imports from Vietnam ($697 million).[48] This increase may have been partially influenced by the U.S.-China trade conflict as U.S. firms looked to reroute their supply chains through Vietnam.[49] Moreover, demand for power tools, as well as lumber and building materials,[50] was fueled by an increase in construction demand, the sale of construction services, and home improvements.[51]

U.S. imports of wrapping, packaging, and can-sealing machinery products increased by $298 million (8.7 percent) from 2019 to 2020.[52] This shift was led by increases in imports from Germany of $102 million (11.2 percent), from Japan of $82 million (49.9 percent), and from Switzerland of $80 million (57.7 percent).[53] The largest increase was in packing or wrapping machinery, which saw an increase of $230 million or 21.4 percent.[54]

 


[1] The Machinery sector consists of 31 product digests. Each USITC sector digest encompasses various 8-digit subheadings in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which classifies tradeable goods. For a complete list of HTS subheadings classified in a particular sector or digest, see this data table.

[2] Except where otherwise noted, the export data used in this section are for domestic exports. For more information on trade terminology, please refer to USITC, “Special Topic: Trade Metrics,” Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade, 2014, June 2015.

[3] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT009, accessed July 1, 2021.

[4] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT009, accessed July 1, 2021.

[5] Iyer, “COVID-19, Farmers, and Food Waste,” April 27, 2020; Yaffe-Bellany and Corkery, “Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs,” April 11, 2020.

[6] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT030, accessed July 1, 2021.

[7] National Association of Manufacturers, “Manufacturers’ Survey Reveals Current Industry Impact,” March 12, 2021; Advancedtech, “How Is the Coronavirus Impacting Manufacturing?,” accessed May 6, 2021.

[8] Araz, Choi, and Olson, “Data Analytics for Operational Risk Management,” May 5, 2020.

[9] Deloitte, “2021 Manufacturing Industry Outlook,” accessed June 28, 2021.

[10] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT020, accessed July 1, 2021.

[11] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT020, accessed July 1, 2021.

[12] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT020, accessed July 1, 2021.

[13] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT004, accessed July 1, 2021.

[14] USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheading 8418.69.01, accessed July 1, 2021.

[15] USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheading 8419.81.90, accessed July 1, 2021.

[16] Cebulski, “Global Microchip Shortage Worsens Appliance Delays,” May 6, 2021; Sandmeyer, “Remodeling? The Global Chip Shortage,” May 28, 2021; Horwitz, “Fridges, Microwaves Fall Prey,” March 29, 2021. For more information on the semiconductor chip shortage, see the Electronics Products section of this report.

[17] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT002, accessed July 1, 2021.

[18] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT002, accessed July 1, 2021.

[19] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT019, accessed July 1, 2021.

[20] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT019, accessed July 1, 2021.

[21] Foundries in Taiwan, South Korea, and China make up a majority of semiconductor manufacturing revenue in 2020. MarketsandMarkets, “Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Market,” July 2020; Lee, “2 Charts Show How Much the World Depends on Taiwan for Semiconductors,” March 15, 2021.

[22] Gartner, “Gartner Says Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue Grew,” January 14, 2021. Global sales of wafer processing equipment also rose by 19 percent and total test equipment grew by 20 percent. See SEMI, “2020 Global Semiconductor Equipment Sales Surge,” April 13, 2021.

[23] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT019, accessed July 1, 2021.

[24] USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheading 8486.20.00, accessed July 1, 2021.

[25] Imports in 2020 were 542,534 units, compared to 521,048 in 2019. The per unit cost under this HTS subheading was therefore $6,668.43 in 2020, compared to $11,914.19 in 2019.

[26] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT020, accessed July 1, 2021.

[27] Krawke, “PVF Industry Adapts to Uncertain Post-COVID-19 Market,” March 10, 2021.

[28] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT015, accessed July 1, 2021.

[29] Kline, “Pandemic Continues Machine Tool Industry Downturn," April 23, 2021.

[30] Imports of metal cutting machines typically follow the trajectory of industries such as these. For more information, see SME, “2019 U.S. Cutting Tool Orders Close at $2.4 Billion,” February 24, 2020. For more information on the decline in motor vehicle and aerospace sales in 2020, see the Transportation Equipment sector section of this report.

[31] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT021, accessed July 1, 2021.

[32] GlobeNewswire, “Mechanical Power Transmission Equipment,” January 21, 2021. 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018.

[33] USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheading 8483.40.50, accessed July 1, 2021.

[34] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT004, accessed July 1, 2021.

[35] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT004, accessed July 1, 2021.

[36] Selyukh, “Why It's So Hard to Buy a New Refrigerator,” September 22, 2020.

[37] Consumer Products, “Value of USA Electrical Appliances Imports Steady,” March 29, 2021.

[38] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT005, accessed July 1, 2021.

[39] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT005, accessed July 1, 2021.

[40] USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheadings 8421.39.80, 8421.39.40, and 8421.21.00, accessed July 1, 2021.

[41] GlobeNewswire, “Global Air Purifiers Market,” June 24, 2020.

[42] MarketsandMarkets, “Catalytic Converter Market by Type,” March 2019.

[43] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT024, accessed July 1, 2021.

[44] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT024, accessed July 1, 2021.

[45] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT024, accessed July 1, 2021.

[46] 19 U.S.C. 1862; the Secretary of Commerce, on May 11, 2020, initiated a national security investigation under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, to determine the effect of imports of electrical transformers and key electrical transformer inputs on national security. See notice published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2020 (85 FR 29926). The investigation was pending at the end of 2020.

[47] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT025, accessed July 1, 2021.

[48] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT025, accessed July 1, 2021. Note that U.S. imports of this digest from Vietnam increased from $8,593 in 2019 to $696.6 million in 2020.

[49] Mandhana, “Manufacturers Want to Quit China for Vietnam,” August 21, 2019; Boudreau and Uyen, “The U.S.-China Trade War,” February 2, 2020.

[50] For more information, see the section on Forest Products in this report.

[51] Freedonia Group, “COVID-19 Economic Impact,” accessed May 9, 2021.

[52] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT006, accessed July 1, 2021.

[53] USITC DataWeb/Census, digest MT006, accessed July 1, 2021.

[54] USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheading 8422.40.91, accessed July 1, 2021.

Bibliography — Machinery

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