Products and Profits: Lessons Learned from the Top 8 U.S. Exports

Products and Profits: Lessons Learned from the Top 8 U.S. Exports

The export business continues to boom in the U.S., despite the rhetoric about the economy failing and Americans not doing well. Some businesses are doing very well. What products are most often exported? Here’s a list of the most popular and companies that have made it happen.

Machines, Engines, And Pumps

Machines account for 13.5 percent of all total exports in the U.S. Total dollar amounts for the exports top $219 billion. Machines range from small commercial to large, engines for those machines when they represent large equipment, and pumps for various purposes and industries.

Hydro-Dyne Engineering, for example, plays well in this niche. They manufacture equipment for screening and grit removal for water and waste water treatment plants. The company decided it would diversify how it did business by exporting. One of the biggest obstacles for a company thinking of getting into the export business is the government interference.

There’s import and export duties and additional paperwork that has to be done. But, the company ultimately found it to be a pleasant experience. And, working with foreign countries was pleasantly surprising. President Jay Conroy found that Chile, for example, was surprisingly modern, and water service businesses are run like a company seeking profit.


Electronics are another big export business. Apple, HP, and many other large American companies are dedicated to exporting their own brands to other countries. For the small-time business owner, this doesn’t seem very practical. But, some do make it happen. Overall, electronic equipment accounts for 10.6 percent of all exports and $171 billion is sent overseas.


While many people believe oil is largely imported from other countries, the U.S. is a big exporter of the stuff. Oil accounts for 9.7 percent of exports and generates $157 billion of revenue for companies.


Automobiles are a hot commodity in other countries, just as imports are values in America. Large car manufacturers, like Ford, export their offerings to other countries to diversify their sales. The strategy brings in a whopping $135 billion in revenue, and accounts for 8.4 percent of exports.

Medical Equipment

Medical and technical equipment accounts for almost $85 billion in revenue and 5.2 percent of total exports. The industry is made up of healthcare supply companies and other organizations shipping medical supplies to other countries.


Base metals and precious metals are big export items. Precious metals, gems, and coins account for 4 percent of total exports and generate more than $65 billion in revenue.

For some metal producers, however, it’s not about being the biggest, but rather being the best.  ISO Stainless became the first company in Louisiana to be awarded the “E” Award for exports in 2008. It’s an award given by the President of the United States to recognize individuals and organizations that contribute significantly to increasing exports from the U.S. to other countries.

In 2014, the company was again recognized as one out of eight companies in the entire country to receive the “E-Star” Award – an award that’s only given to previous “E” Award winners who have reported four years of export growth.

Steve Smith is the founder of a company that now exports products worldwide. He likes sharing his insights about the industry online. His articles can be found on many business and industrial websites.