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California Trade Facts                               

  • In 2018, California exported a record $178.4 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world. In 2016, exports from California supported an estimated 684 thousand jobs.

Exports from California and Jobs

  • California was the 2nd largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • In 2018, California goods exports were $178.2 billion, an increase of 23 percent ($33 billion) from its export level in 2008.
  • Goods exports accounted for 6.0 percent of California GDP in 2018.
  • California goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 684 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from California and Jobs

  • In 2018, California exported $154.3 billion of manufactured products.
  • California exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 632 thousand jobs in 2016.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is computer & electronic products, which accounted for $45.2 billion of California's total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are transportation equipment ($19.2 billion), machinery, except electrical ($17.8 billion), miscellaneous manufactured commodities ($15.8 billion), and chemicals ($13.7 billion).

Exports Sustain Thousands of California Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 72,665 companies exported from California locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 69,387 (96 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 43.0 percent of California's total exports of goods in 2016.

California Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Mexico. California exported $30.8 billion in goods to Mexico in 2018, representing 17 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Mexico was followed by Canada ($17.7 billion), China ($16.3 billion), Japan ($13.0 billion), and Korea ($10.0 billion).
  • California’s exports (2018 Value)  to major world areas included:


2018 Value


$122.6 billion


$80.3 billion

European Union

$31.8 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$7.2 billion

Sub-Saharan Africa

$617 million

  • 41 percent of California’s exports ($73.5 billion) go to current FTA partners.  

Agriculture in California depends on Exports

  • California is the country’s largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $23.1 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1

  • Top Agricultural exports (2017 Value) were:


2017 Value

 2017 State Rank

tree nuts

$7.7 billion


other plant products

$3.9 billion


fruits, fresh

$2.9 billion


fruits, processed

$2.5 billion


vegetables, processed

$2.0 billion



International Investment Creates Jobs in California

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 769,200 California workers. Major sources of foreign investment in California included Japan, the United Kingdom and France.
  • Foreign investment in California was responsible for 5.1 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

California’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in California recorded goods exports: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($63.8 billion), San Francisco ($29.1 billion), San Jose ($21.5 billion), San Diego ($18.6 billion), Riverside ($8.8 billion), Sacramento ($6.6 billion), El Centro ($5.7 billion), Oxnard ($3.3 billion), Bakersfield ($3.2 billion), Fresno ($2.5 billion), Modesto ($1.7 billion), Visalia ($1.4 billion), Stockton ($1.4 billion), Santa Maria-Santa Barbara ($1.3 billion), Santa Rosa ($1.2 billion), Salinas ($853.1 million), Merced ($812.1 million), Vallejo ($786.2 million), Santa Cruz ($706.9 million), Napa ($403.5 million), Hanford ($365.8 million), Madera ($356.8 million), Chico ($351 million), Yuba City ($291.8 million), San Luis Obispo ($268.1 million), Redding ($81.6 million).


1Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.