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California Trade Report for April 2021

Below are highlights from the recently released trade data from the US Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data reflects the annual revision process extending back to 2016.

Share of Goods through US Ports

CA Share Of Total Trade
Through US Ports

The share of total US goods trade (exports and imports) through California ports edged down to 18.18% (12-month moving average; compared to 18.28% in March 2021 and 17.36% in April 2020).

California remained the #1 state, ahead of Texas with 16.90% (compared to 16.62% in March 2021 and 17.73% in April 2020). Trade through the Atlantic port states was at 30.59% (compared to 30.75% in March 2021 and 30.06% in April 2020). The state’s continued lead in this area forms the trade-related base for one of California’s largest centers of middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Transportation & Warehousing alone provided 689,900 jobs, up 78,000 from the year prior.

California Goods Exports

Billion Change In Exports

Total California goods exports were up $4.8 billion from April 2020 (up 46.4%). The 2020 numbers, however, reflect the sharp drops in world trade at the beginning of the pandemic period. Using April 2019 as a more “normal” year base, exports were up 7.7%, or about 1.7% annually in real terms.

California remained in 2nd place with 10.82% of all US goods exports (12-month moving total), behind Texas at 19.37%.


California's Balance for Goods Trade

Billion Of Goods Trade

California’s balance of goods trade activity through state businesses broadened to -$22.4 billion, compared to a level of -$16.2 billion in April 2020. California trade accounted for 27% of the US trade deficit in goods.


Top 20 Exports, April 2021

Top 20 exports by value are shown below, along with the change from April 2020.

The significant decline in international trade during the height of the pandemic has created skewed percentages of year-over-year trade trends. This information will be included again when the data normalizes.

Commodity April 2021 Exports ($b.)
Industrial Machinery $0.9
Motor Vehicles 0.9
Semiconductors & Other Electronic Components 0.9
Fruits & Tree Nuts 0.8
Navigational/measuring/medical/control Instrument 0.8
Pharmaceuticals & Medicines 0.7
Computer Equipment 0.7
Waste & Scrap 0.7
Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities 0.6
Aerospace Products & Parts 0.6
Communications Equipment 0.6
Medical Equipment & Supplies 0.5
Electrical Equipment & Components, Nesoi 0.3
Petroleum & Coal Products 0.3
Basic Chemicals 0.3
Other General Purpose Machinery 0.3
Used or Second-hand Merchandise 0.3
Foods, Nesoi 0.2
Motor Vehicle Parts 0.2
Plastics Products 0.2


Top 10 Export Markets, April 2021

Country April 2021 Exports ($b)
Mexico $2.3
Korea, South 1.5
Canada 1.4
China 1.3
Japan 0.8
Germany 0.8
Taiwan 0.7
Netherlands 0.7
Hong Kong 0.6
India 0.5