Economics

Countries With The Least Food Imports Relative To All Merchandise Imports

Developed economies with a high demand for non-food and other non-essential goods comprise much of the list.

Argentina

One of the world’s biggest food producing and exporting countries is Argentina. In 2014, the country had a total fruit and vegetable import rate of $619 million. One-third of these imports are bananas, and another 13% is coffee. About 75% of the bananas come from Ecuador, and 74% of the coffee comes from Brazil. Food imports represent 3% of its total imports.

Singapore

Food imports to Singapore make up 4% of total merchandise imports. This low percentage of food import value is not, however, because the country produces sufficient food. It is because Singapore is the 15th largest import economy in the world. Local farms only produce 8% of the necessary fruits and vegetables, 8% of fish, and 26% of eggs. Malaysia and China are the two biggest suppliers of fruits and vegetables here. The biggest imports are potatoes, onions, cabbage, watermelon, bananas, and oranges.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong imports over 90% of its total food supply, but that only accounts for 5% of its total merchandise imports. The biggest suppliers include China, United States, Thailand, Brazil, the Philippines, and Indonesia. China alone supplies Hong Kong with 92% of its fresh vegetables. This is due to the low prices that China can provide which is a result of the two countries’ proximity.

Brazil

Food imports to Brazil make up 5% of its total imports. This country is the 19th biggest import economy in the world. Its biggest agricultural import is wheat (32%), its biggest animal product is fish fillets (20%), and its biggest foodstuff is wine (10%). Its biggest wheat supplier is the United States and over half of its fish fillets come from China and Vietnam.

Hungary

Total food imports to Hungary equal 5% of the total merchandise imported. The country has a total import economy of $99.9 billion. Coffee, corn, and sunflower seeds are its biggest agricultural imports. Over half of its coffee comes from Germany and Slovakia. Romania and France supply its corn.

Turkey

Of all of Turkey’s imports, only 5% come from food. It is the 23rd largest importer in the world. One-quarter of its food imports is made up of wheat which largely comes from Russia (73%). Other suppliers of imports are China and Germany.

Slovakia

This country has been increasing its imports by just over 6% every year for the past five years, and exports have increased by 9% over the same time period. In the late 1990’s, its agro-food imports were worth double its exports, but that is no longer the case. The country imports more foodstuffs than either agricultural or animal products. Chocolate is its major product, 10% of all foodstuffs, with one-third coming from the Czech Republic. Coffee is next, 16% of all agricultural products, and 42% comes from Germany.

India

India is the 13th largest importing economy in the world. Over the last five years, imports have increased by 11% annually. The government has not invested in agricultural technology recently and this combined with droughts has led to a decrease in food production. This in conjunction with an exponentially growing population has resulted in an increase in food imports. The biggest food import is dried legumes (37%), 35% of these come from Canada and an additional 31% from Burma.

United States

The United States is the largest importing economy in the world. Of the $2.19 trillion of merchandise imports, 6% is food. The biggest agricultural import is coffee which makes up 14% of the category, 23% of this comes from Brazil. Its biggest foodstuff import is hard liquor, over half of which comes from the United Kingdom and France.

Mexico

Mexico is the last country on the list, and its food imports take up 6% of all imports. This country is the 14th largest importer in the world and like India has grown around 11% annually over the last five years. Its biggest food import is corn, which was once its biggest nationally produced crop, but the enactment of NAFTA has changed its import and export economies. This grain, a traditional food staple in the country, was once available at cheap prices. Today, the country imports 99.7% of its corn supply from the United States.

Countries With The Least Food Imports Relative To All Merchandise Imports

RankCountryFood Imports Relative To All Merchandise Imports
1Argentina3%
2Singapore4%
3Hong Kong5%
4Brazil5%
5Hungary5%
6Turkey5%
7Slovakia6%
8India6%
9United States6%
10Mexico6%

More in Economics