Mapping International Trade: Who Are the Biggest Importers?
Every country in the world relies on imports to bolster its economy. Imports allow consumers to buy and take advantage of products that may not be available in their own country. Your own home is probably filled with products imported from countries around the world.
Have you ever wondered how much your home country relies on imports to thrive? Check out our visualization to find out which countries spend the most on imports.
- At $2.6 trillion, the United States is the world’s largest import country.
- As the trade war between the world’s two largest importers (the United States and China) carries on, it’s yet to be seen how much of an impact it will have on these countries’ economies.
- The European Union is, collectively, the world’s largest importer, sending $6.5 trillion on imports.
To create our graphic, we pulled the latest data from the World Trade Organization on international trade. The WTO records the total value of physical goods imported by each country. Using this data, we can see the total value of each country’s imports. For ease of use, we shaded each country relative to the total amount spent on imports.
The World’s Top 10 Largest Importers
1. United States: $2.6 trillion
2. China: $2.1 trillion
3. Germany: $ 1.3 trillion
4. Japan: $749 billion
5. United Kingdom: $674 billion
6. France: $673 billion
7. Netherlands: $646 billion
8. Hong Kong: $628 billion
9. South Korea: $535 billion
10. India: $511 billion
This map reinforces the importance of international trade for the global economy. From major economies, like the United States, to smaller countries like Cuba, every nation in the world dedicates a significant portion of its budget to importing products from other countries.
As demonstrated by the visualization, the United States remains the largest importer in the world with China close behind. This raises the question: How much of an impact will the U.S. and China trade war have on these statistics? The United States is China’s largest trading partner, but this trade war could have a major effect on the U.S. trade deficit with China. Not only will the trade war impact these countries, but it will likely have a ripple effect that impacts countries around the world.
It’s no secret that international trade is a critical factor in the growth of the global economy. By analyzing this map, we can understand the importance of international trade and how much each country relies on importing products from other nations. But are the biggest importers the same as the biggest exports? Check out our companion article on the biggest exporters here.
How much do you think the U.S. and China trade war will impact the global economy? Do you think this list will look different in 2020? Let us know in the comments.
Data: Table 1.1