The United States runs a trade deficit that is primarily explained by oil imports and a persistent imbalance with China; further, we export roughly the same types of goods that we import. When measured by value, the top six categories closely overlap. Most are highly processed durable goods such as computers and electronics, transportation equipment (airplanes, aerospace, and automobiles), and machinery. These goods embody relatively elevated value-added per employee. Highly processed nondurables also figure prominently in trade, including chemicals. On the other side of the spectrum lie products such as textiles, beverages and tobacco, and nonmetallics, which are not heavily traded.

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