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Which Countries Export the Most?

The United States is one of the world's top exporting countries.
In 2010, more than $1 trillion worth of Chinese goods were exported around the world.
Consumer products are an example of items shipped for export around the globe.
Map of the world.
The People's Republic of China is often near the top of the list of countries with the most exports.
Article Details
  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 April 2014
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Countries export a wide range of things, from consumer products, to raw materials, to energy resources. Generally speaking, the largest industrialized nations export the most, while smaller nations and less developed nations export relatively very little. Additionally, most countries try to find a balance between their exports and their imports, so when they export a great deal, they also tend to import a great deal as well.

The easiest way to measure which countries export the most is simply to look at the total value of their combined exports. The total value of all exports in the world in 2010 was estimated to be roughly $15.18 trillion US Dollars (USD). Of this, China takes the top spot among individual nations, with a combined export value of about $1.581 trillion USD. Germany comes next, with a combined export value of $1.303 trillion USD. The United States comes in third, exporting $1.289 trillion USD. These top three nations export $4.173 trillion USD worth of goods, or a little less than one-third of the world's entire export value.

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These numbers are especially interesting when compared to the total value of these nations' imports. The United States is the largest importer in terms of value, with total imports of around $1.935 trillion USD. China follows, with imports of $1.327 trillion USD, and Germany comes in third, with imports worth $1.099 trillion USD. This means these three countries import roughly $4.361 trillion USD worth of goods, just about equal to their total exports, but with a higher amount carried by the United States.

The other top ten exporting countries are Japan with $730.1 billion USD, France with $517.2 billion USD, the Netherlands with $486.7 billion USD, South Korea with $464.3 billion USD, Italy with $448.4 billion USD, the United Kingdom with $410.2 billion USD, and Russia with $400.1 billion USD. These other seven countries have combined exports worth around $3.457 trillion USD, still less than the total of the top three. This also means that the top ten exporting countries export around $7.63 trillion USD, or about half of the world's total exports. The top ten importing countries are very similar, with Japan, France, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, and South Korea all appearing on both lists, and with Canada beating out Russia as a major importer.

The amount that these top nations export is even more staggering when compared to the nations at the bottom of the list. Countries like Tuvalu and Naura, for example, which are small island nations with low populations, export less than 1/100th of 1% of what a nation like the United States exports. Nauru, for example, had total exports of only $64,000 USD in 2005. Even fairly large nations may have almost no exports, if their economies are impoverished enough. Rwanda, for example, had exports in 2010 of only $234.2 million USD, or around 1/2000th the exports of a country like the Netherlands.

Exports can also be looked at in terms of amounts per capita, which helps to balance out the differences in population. Germany, for example, exports $1.303 trillion USD, and has a population of around 81.4 million people, making for per capita exports of around $16,000 USD. China, on the other hand, exports $1.581 trillion USD worth of goods, but has a population of 1.33 billion people, making for per-capita exports of only about $1,200 USD. The United States has exports valued at $1.289 trillion USD, and a population of around 313 million people, making for per capita exports of around $4,100 USD.

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Discuss this Article

bear78
Post 5

I feel bad for some African nations because they don't seem to benefit from imports-exports as much as other nations.

It makes most sense for African nations to export to one another because they are so close geographically. The issue is that many of them produce the same things like coffee for example. But people cannot live on coffee.

ysmina
Post 4

@recapitulate-- Yea, but economics doesn't really work that way. There are countries that have policies like that, import-export restricted countries that prefer to be as self-sufficient as possible. But this is bad for the economy and their economy doesn't grow as fast as other countries that do more trade.

Trade is good because it makes more sense to buy something from someone who can produce it cheaper than we can. It also makes sense to export to countries who cannot produce the goods we have. This is called comparative advantage in economics.

Comparative advantage means that the country that has the lowest cost of producing a good should produce it and sell it to other countries. This way, all countries can enjoy all goods at the lowest cost possible.

That is why trade is good, and exportation is good.

fify
Post 3

I'm not surprised to know that China exports the most products. Almost everything at stores seem to be from China nowadays.

behaviourism
Post 2

@recapitulate, I suppose the issue is that people have become used to having whatever they want- bananas in winter time, coffee and chocolate all the time, fish from around the world. To curb our importing and exporting, we have to consider as a society how much we really need, which is a complicated thing to do.

recapitulate
Post 1

I worry that the United States important exports too much. It just seems that some things, such as food, would be more practically grown, harvested, and eaten at home as much as possible. While I know we cannot grow everything we want or need, I think more effort needs to be made.

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