Mapping International Trade: Who Are the Biggest Exporters?
Exports are a major aspect of international trade. Countries around the world can bolster their economies by selling their resources and consumer goods to other nations around the world. Developing and developed countries both export products around the globe.
But which countries lead the global economy in exports? We constructed a helpful visualization to find out which countries are the largest exporters in the world. You may be surprised at the results.
- China is still, by far, the largest exporter in the world. The country exported a total of $2.5 trillion worth of goods in 2018.
- The largest U.S. export industries include food and beverage, crude oil, civilian aircraft, auto parts, and industrial machines.
- The United States and China are part of an ongoing trade war, which could significantly affect the world export industry.
- Collectively, the European Union has the largest export industry — exporting $6.5 trillion worth of goods in 2018.
We gathered our data from the World Trade Organization, which tracks the total value of all the goods each country exports. Keep in mind that this data does not include services, only physical goods.
To make the map easier to read, we shaded each country based on the total value of their exports. Some countries that have minimal exports were excluded from our data
The World’s Top 10 Largest Exporters
1. China: $2.5 trillion
2. United States: $1.7 trillion
3. Germany: $1.6 trillion
4. Japan: $738 billion
5. Netherlands: $723 billion
6. South Korea: $605 billion
7. France: $582 billion
8. Hong Kong: $569 billion
9. Italy: $547 billion
10. United Kingdom: $486 billion
Perhaps the most notable insight from this data is how much the global export industry is dominated by just a few countries. China is, by far, the largest exporter in the world, beating the United States by about $800 billion. China is, by far, the largest exporter in the world, beating the United States by about $800 billion. China’s top exports include machinery, technology, furniture, plastics, and vehicles. Furthermore, the top three countries combined (China, the United States, and Germany) exported more than the next seven countries combined. Lastly, it’s important to consider the potential impact of the U.S. and China trade war on the global economy. Not only do China and the U.S. stand to lose a lot from this trade war, but so could other countries that rely on these countries as their major trade partners.
While a small handful of countries dominate the global export industry, every country in the world relies on exports to drive their economies. Our visualization helps us see which countries lead the global economy and just how much they are exporting on an annual basis.
How do you think these numbers will be affected by the China and U.S. trade war? If a country exports lots of goods do they have to import a lot to make goods, or can they source it locally? Compare this visualization with the largest importers here.
Data: Table 1.1