WASHINGTON ― The U.S. aerospace and defense industry was the global leader in exports of its type in 2017, accounting for 34 percent of industry exports, according to a recently released Aerospace Industries Association report.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the report finds the U.S. A&D industry generated $143 billion in exports last year.

Although slightly down from 2016’s near $146 billion high-water mark, overall A&D exports have increased 26 percent over the last five years.

The export of supply chain products such as engines, components and parts accounted for 56 percent of exports, totaling $80 billion.

China retained its status as the top purchaser of U.S. A&D products, buying $16.3 billion of U.S. goods. France and the United Kingdom ranked second and third, importing $12.9 billion and $10 billion, respectively.

In total, the A&D industry accounted for 9 percent of all U.S. exports, making it the nations third-largest gross exporter. The industry also generated an $86 billion trade surplus in 2017, the largest trade surplus of any U.S. industry.