From needles to MRI machines, exports of medical “devices” increased by 8.14%

From needles to MRI machines, exports of medical “devices” increased by 8.14%

Good news and bad news. Kind of.

The value of medical device exports, one of the top US exports this year, is growing at less than half the rate of overall US exports.

That’s the bad news.

The category, which includes everything from needles and sutures to MRI and ultrasound machines, continues to grow at a pace sufficient to lead to a banner year, when annual totals are released in early February.

Now for the good news: Through September, according to the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, exports in this category rose 8.14% to $26.46 billion. US exports grew by 21.04% and have a chance to top $2 trillion for the first time in 2022.

This post, focusing on medical devices, which ranked 10th when this series on US exports began, is the 12th and final post in a series of columns on the country’s exports. It currently ranks 12th, behind gold, which entered the top 10 earlier this year, and low value shipments, which I’ve chosen to top from category data. largely unspecified e-commerce and courier shipments, is not detailed enough.

This series follows similar series I did for countries that were, at the time, the country’s top 10 trading partners and one for airports, seaports and border crossings that were, at the time time, the top 10 “ports” of the country.

The first article in this series focused on an overview of the top 10 exports. The second looked at the top 10 countries that are markets for US exports and how they differ from our global trading partners, which would include imports.

The third was refined oil, the first export; followed by one on oil, which takes second place; natural gas, which includes LNG and ranks third; the main category of commercial aircraft, which ranks fourth; passenger vehicles, at No. 5; computer chips, which actually rank seventh, although at the time this series began they ranked sixth; vaccines, plasma and other blood fractions, which was in seventh place at the start of the series; motor vehicle parts, US export No. 8; and drugs, largely in the form of pills, which ranked 9th at the start of the series, but had slipped to 10th when the September data was released.

Just as the low value shipment category is relatively opaque, so is the medical device category, although much less so. Nevertheless, $11.21 billion of the total $26.46 billion is categorized as “not elsewhere specified or shown” – over 42%.

The top 10 markets are, unsurprisingly, the advanced economies of North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania (Australia). The top five have already topped $2 billion this year, with the top seven having topped $1 billion.

Increases in exports to China, Canada and Japan are all in the single digits while those to the Netherlands, a transshipment hub for Europe, and Mexico increased by 28.48% and 12, 81%, respectively.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and what is most likely New Orleans International Airport are the three main gateways for these exports. (Data from the Port of New Orleans mixes air and ocean freight in Census Bureau data.) Those three countries make up just under 30% of the total this year.

The top seven all topped $1 billion through September.

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