North Dakota

North Dakota Trade Facts

  • In 2018, North Dakota exported a record $7.9 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world. In 2016, exports from North Dakota supported an estimated 28 thousand jobs.

Exports from North Dakota and Jobs

  • North Dakota was the 36th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • In 2018, North Dakota goods exports were $7.9 billion, an increase of 185 percent ($5.1 billion) from its export level in 2008.
  • Goods exports accounted for 14.4 percent of North Dakota GDP in 2018.
  • North Dakota goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 28 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 North Dakota and Jobs

  • In 2018, North Dakota exported $4.3 billion of manufactured products.
  • North Dakota exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 10 thousand jobs in 2016.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is petroleum & coal products, which accounted for $2.4 billion of North Dakota's total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are machinery, except electrical ($873 million), chemicals ($347 million), food & kindred products ($194 million), and transportation equipment ($137 million).

Exports Sustain Thousands of North Dakota Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 1,526 companies exported from North Dakota locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 1,289 (85 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 36.7 percent of North Dakota's total exports of goods in 2016.

North Dakota Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. North Dakota exported $6.9 billion in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 88 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($228 million), Australia ($144 million), Germany ($60 million), and Japan ($36 million).
  • North Dakota’s exports (2018 value) to major world areas included:


2018 Value


$7.5  billion


$136 million

European Union

$219 million

South/Central America and Caribbean

$136 million

Sub-Saharan Africa

$27 million

  • 94 percent of North Dakota’s exports ($7.4 billion) go to current FTA partners. 

Agriculture in North Dakota depends on Exports

  • North Dakota is the country’s 9th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $4.5 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


$1.1 billion



$1.1 billion


other oilseeds and products

$602 million



$261 million


feeds and other feed grains

$236 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in North Dakota

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 12,600 North Dakota workers. Major sources of foreign investment in North Dakota included Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan.
  • Foreign investment in North Dakota was responsible for 3.4 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

North Dakota’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in North Dakota recorded goods exports: Fargo ($519.5 million), Bismarck ($243.9 million), Grand Forks ($181.2 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.