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What is Exporting?

Businesses that sell their goods and services to customers in other countries are exporting them – they are producing them in one country and shipping them to another. Exporting is one way that businesses can rapidly expand their potential market.

To give you a sense of the size of the market outside the U.S., the Small Business Administration reports that 96% of consumers live outside the U.S. and 67% of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S.

Exports are big business. In 2014, the U.S. exported $2.35 trillion worth of goods and services, which was a new record. Demand for U.S. goods remains high.

The Top 10 exports in 2014 were:

  1. Machines, engines, pumps
  2. Electronic equipment
  3. Oil
  4. Vehicles
  5. Aircraft, spacecraft
  6. Medical equipment
  7. Gems, precious metals, coins
  8. Plastics
  9. Pharmaceuticals
  10. Organic chemicals

The Top 10 countries the U.S. exported to in 2014 were:

  1. Canada
  2. Mexico
  3. China
  4. Japan
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Germany
  7. Korea
  8. Netherlands
  9. Brazil
  10. Hong Kong

U.S. businesses interested in learning more about how to start exporting can get free support services from the government. U.S. Export Assistance Centers located in major metropolitan areas provide assistance in finding overseas buyers, shipping products, customs requirements, and collecting payment.

The first step in getting into exporting is to register at for expanding into new markets.

You can also take free online training courses in exporting to help decide if exporting makes sense for your business, and if your products and services are eligible to be exported. Some countries restrict certain products from entering their borders.

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