If you’ve ever read the label on a bag of coffee or looked real close at the tags on your clothes, you’ll notice that that product was made in a country that’s not the U.S.A. The world economy thrives on trade agreements that all the nations have with each other and that, in turn, helps each nation’s economy as well. It all depends on what any given country’s main export is.
You might expect that Japan’s most valuable export is cars, but did you know that Afghanistan’s export economy flourishes thanks to a very common fruit? Read on to see what product each country is busy doling out for the rest of the world.
Coffee comprises about 32-percent of Ethiopia’s total exports and it’s also their most valuable. More than 90-percent of Ethiopia’s coffee harvest is organically produced and they are particularly renowned for their arabica coffee grown in the Ethiopian highlands. In 2017, the African country shipped out $963 million USD worth of coffee, tea, and spices.
Aside from coffee, Ethiopia also exports the leather, skins, and meat of livestock in addition to oilseeds and other produce. This country’s total global exports were worth $2.9 billion USD in 2017, which would only amount to $27 for each of their 105.4 million residents.
As the largest exporting country in the world, China exports goods valued at over $2 trillion USD in 2017. Macbooks and iPhones, for example, are infamously manufactured in China, so it’s no surprise that this far-eastern country’s largest export is computers. This is followed by broadcasting equipment and telephones.
China has been a hot topic among finance circles, as the country’s economy continues to prosper and with a population of nearly 1.4 billion, there’s no shortage of production. Still, the country’s wealth inequality proves that its per capita income is lower than the world average.
Argentina’s highest-valued export is soybeans. Though the South American country’s total exports are only valued at $61.6 billion USD, they are thought to be the number one exporter of soybeans to China, who stopped buying soybeans from the U.S.
Approximately one-quarter of Argentine exports go to Asian importers, while a third of their exports are shipped out to their Latin American neighbors. Aside from soybeans, some of Argentina’s fastest-growing export categories include meat, mineral fuels, and vehicles. They are also known for exporting corn, fish, lobsters, wheat, and gold.
United States: Aircrafts
The United States ranks as the world’s second largest exporting country, sending out goods valued at $1.5 trillion USD in 2017. Among the U.S.’s largest imports are commercial aircraft, which rakes in about $130 billion USD. Petroleum, pharmaceuticals, cars and their parts are also some of the country’s most lucrative exports, the last of which is often shipped to U.S.-owned and foreign automakers in Canada and Mexico.
Though food, feed, and beverages only account for nine-percent of exported goods, the amount exported in 2017 was valued at around $133 billion. The most prominent goods in this category include soybeans, meat, and poultry, as well as corn.
India: Precious Stones
India’s total exports amount to $323.1 billion USD worth of goods. Gems and precious stones are some of the highest-valued exports out of the Asian country. The number of gems and stones exported out of India are totaled at around $40.1 billion USD. Even more valuable than India’s precious gems are the mineral fuels that it exports, which includes oil. This category is valued at around $48.3 billion USD.
Aside from India’s natural resources, other products that the country exports include electrical machinery and equipment.
Germany exports around $1.27 trillion USD, as of 2016. Car and car parts make for Germany’s most notable export with a combined value of around $200 billion USD, thanks to companies like Volkswagen and BMW that are headquartered there. They’re also known for manufacturing chemicals, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.
Germany is also home to plenty of natural resources and therefore can include gold, wheat, petroleum gas, and silver in its list of Germany’s top commodity exports. Germany’s top export destinations include the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and China.
Chile has exported $75.4 billion USD worth of goods around the world in 2018 and perhaps the most valuable export out of the country is copper. Located on the western edge of the South American continent, Chile is home to over a third of the world’s copper reserves.
Chile’s copper mines are owned by the state, which means profits from copper production go back to the state. If it worked that way for all of Chile’s exports, then each of their 17.9 million people could technically receive $4,200 USD if they split the value of the country’s exports evenly among themselves.
Japan sent out approximately $738.2 billion USD in export goods in 2018. Japan’s biggest export is automobiles, which accounts for 20.9-percent of the country’s total exports. Thanks to companies like Toyota and Honda, Japan’s automotive exports are valued at $154.1 billion USD.
Aside from cars, Japan is also known for exporting machinery (like computers), electrical equipment, medical equipment, as well as iron and steel. More than half of these exports are sent out to fellow Asian countries, while only 21.9-percent is delivered to North American importers. With a population of 126.2 million, Japan’s total imports amount to around $5,900 USD for each of its residents.
Mexico’s exports in 2018 totaled to a value of $450.9 billion USD. Their economy is export-oriented since more than ninety percent of their trade is under free trade agreements with more than 40 other nations.
Like many other countries on this list, Mexico’s largest export is electronics. In fact, they are the second largest exporter of electronics to the neighboring United States, sending $71.4 billion worth in 2011. Mexico manufactures televisions, displays, computers, mobile phones and more. They specialize in original equipment manufacturing (OEM) to send to other companies.
South Korea: Electrical Equipment
South Korea impressed the world by how swiftly it transitioned from a developing to a developed economy. But because the East Asian country is home to very few natural resources, they primarily rely on their export economy. That must be why South Korea’s exports are valued at $573.7 billion USD.
Electrical machinery and equipment make up 30.5-percent of South Korea’s total exports and are valued at $184.6 billion USD. This is followed by computer machinery and vehicles, so it’s safe to say that South Korea’s export economy is similar to that of Japan’s.
Australia: Iron Ore
Australia top export is iron ore, which only makes sense considering they’re the largest iron ore producer in the world. Iron ore makes up almost twenty percent of Australia’s total exports, which amounts to about $59.7 billion USD worth.
Iron only makes for half of Australia’s mineral exports, however, since they are also big producers of coal and petroleum oil. Aside from minerals, Australia also exports gold, wheat, meat, and more. The southern continent has sent out $253.8 billion USD worth of exports in 2018, which means that each of their 23.5 million people could technically receive $10,800.
Hong Kong: Electrical Equipment
Hong Kong stands on its own as the sixth largest exporter in the world. With its exports in 2018 valued at $569.1 billion USD, each of its 7.2 million residents could split that and get roughly $79,900 USD. Like the other Asian countries on this list, Hong Kong’s largest exports include electrical equipment and computer machinery. Interestingly, its third largest export are gems and precious metals, which account for 12-percent of HK’s total exports.
Though Hong Kong and mainland China complement each other economically, their political differences still keep them separated.
Afghanistan’s global exports were valued at around $920.1 million USD and much of that number can be contributed to their main export: grapes. Afghanistan exports some of their grapes to European and Asian markets but due to difficulties in transportation, they primarily ship the fruits out to Pakistan and Iran.
Grapes are the south-central Asian country’s most valuable export, although they are also known for exporting other fruits, nuts, cotton, and opium. In 2017, Afghanistan has exported $321.6 million USD worth of fruits and nuts alone.
Behind Germany, France is the second largest exporter in Europe. France’s exports are valued at $523.4 billion USD. Their most valuable exports are heavy machinery, including large air and spacecraft. The top three countries that receive these French exports are Germany, China, and the United States.
After aircraft, France also exports pharmaceuticals and motor cars. While a majority of French exports go out to their fellow Europeans, 17.6-percent of their exports are received by Asia. Only 9.3-percent of exports out of France are sent to North America and 5.1-percent to Africa.
Netherlands’ exports were valued at $722.7 billion USD in 2018, which equals $42,100 for every one of their 17.2 million people. The country’s exported goods and services account for 83-percent of their gross domestic product. These include machinery, such as broadcasting equipment and computers; pharmaceuticals, and plastics.
The Netherlands primarily exports to Europe, with the United Kingdom, Italy, and Belgium being the top three receivers. The unemployment rate in 2019 has decreased since 2018, which makes sense considering the growing value of this Dutch country’s exports.
Greenland’s economy relies heavily on its exports of fish, fish products, and crustaceans. Indeed, Greenland’s fish exports were worth around $822.3 million USD in 2017 and made up for more than 80-percent of the country’s total exports. Cod used to be the country’s main catch but it has been overshadowed by cold-water shrimp and Greenland halibut.
While seafood is Greenland’s primary export good, the country exports fishing ships and boats as well. They’ve shipped around $996.1 million worth of export goods around the world and with a small population of 57,713 people, it’s enough for everyone to get $17,000!
Bananas are Guatemala’s most valuable export. In addition to melons and other produce, bananas account for $11.2 billion USD worth and 11-percent of the Central American country’s total exports. Guatemala’s other main exports include coffee and sugar, of which Guatemala exported $1.1 billion worth in 2017.
A smaller percentage of Guatemala’s exports include knit sweaters and t-shirts, as well as palm oil and rubber. Guatemala ships $11 billion USD worth of export goods around the world and 41-percent of it is delivered to North American countries. With the exception of Mexico, another 38-percent of Guatemalan exports are sent to other Latin American countries and the Caribbean.
Italy: Engineering Products
Italy exported $546.6 billion worth of goods across the globe in 2018. In addition to computer machinery, Italy’s top exports also include vehicles, electrical equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Engineering products are apparently the biggest exports from this country, accounting for twenty-percent and $106.4 billion worth of Italy’s total exports.
While 64.4-percent goes to Italy’s fellow European countries, not much of these products are seen in North America, which only gets 11-percent of Italian exports. One would think that Italian leather goods would be a top export, but those fall behind pharmaceuticals, cars, petroleum, and car parts.
South Africa: Gold
South Africa sent out $94.4 billion USD worth of export goods around the world in 2018. The most valuable of these export goods was gold, which accounts for nearly 16-percent of the country’s total exports. Indeed, the mining industry is the driving force behind South Africa’s economy with gold, diamonds, platinum, and other gems and precious metals valued at $16.6 billion worth in the country’s total exports.
The other components attributed to South Africa’s total exports include coal, iron ore, cars, delivery trucks, citrus fruits, corn, grapes, and wine.
Sierra Leone: Diamonds
Sierra Leone is known for its diamonds, which is why they stand as the West African country’s most valuable export. Diamonds and other gems accounted for $127 million USD worth and just 12-percent of the country’s total exports. Mining is what drives Sierra Leone’s economy, which is why their exports of iron, titanium, and aluminum ores account for nearly half of its total exports.
Sierra Leone also exports cocoa, wood, and fish. In total, Sierra Leone’s exports amount to $885.5 million USD but with a population of 6.2 million people, that would only be $150 if it was split evenly among them.