Economics

The World's 20 Largest Exporting Countries

China, the United States, and Germany are the world's top three largest exporters of goods.

In 2016, China was by far the world’s leading exporter, exporting goods valued at a total of $1,990,000,000,000 USD in the year. To put this in perspective, consider how much the rest of the top five exporters shipped to international markets in the same year. In second place, the United States exported goods valuing $1,456,000,000,000.. Only China, the U.S., and Germany managed to export more than a Trillion US dollars’ worth of goods in 2014, with rest of our list registering much smaller numbers.

China is the World's Largest Exporter

While China’s explosive economic expansion has been a front-page financial story over the last few decades, China’s economy is not the only one worth noting. Today, more and more of what have long been considered developing economies are seeing rapid commercial development within their own countries and on the international scene alike. Large economies are not always the fastest growing and most developed, as income inequality, political instability, corruption and low levels of per capita gross capita product still can hinder even the largest of markets.

The Chinese government, administering control over an exporting powerhouse with a vast economy, is facing many problems as of late despite continuing Chinese prosperity. The country’s growth has expanded consistently, but China is transitioning into a consumption-based economy, which may change the overall undercurrents of the Chinese economy in the near future. Despite its economic growth continuing to head in positive directions, China’s per capita income is still below world average, which can be attributed in part to wealth inequality within the country. Whether China’s economy can become greater and more prosperous still will likely depend upon the Chinese government’s ability to allow, and even facilitate, the public’s ability to prosper economically.

Why Doesn't the United States Export More?

It is no secret that the United States is home to one of, if not the, most important economic markets in the world. The largest exports of the United States are cars, refined petroleum, planes, helicopters, and spacecraft, and pharmaceuticals. Major trading partners include Canada, China, and Mexico.

The success of the United States economy can be attributed to factors such as a wealth of natural resources, excellent infrastructure, and a productive workforce. The country also has the designation of being the world's largest industrial sector. However, as cost of living is higher in the United States than China, many goods cannot be produced in the United States for a price comparable to their production costs in China. This is one of the reasons why the United States lags behind China when it comes to export volume.

Germany

Third on the list of the world's top exporters is the central European nation of Germany, which is also home to one of the world's largest economies. in 2016, the goods exported from Germany had a value of around 1.5 trillion US dollars. Like the United States, Germany also has an extremely busy manufacturing sector. The most commonly exported goods from Germany include automobiles, machinery, chemicals, electronics, electrical equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Furthermore, several Fortune Global 2000 companies are headquartered in the country. Some of the most notable companies include Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, and Bayer.

Japan

Japan, in East Asia, exported around $634,900,000,000 worth of goods in 2016. This puts them in the fourth position on the list of the world's largest exporters. Like several of the countries on this list, the major exports of Japan include things like automobiles, vehicle parts, integrated circuits, and industrial printers. Japan is the world's third largest manufacturer of automobiles. Like Germany, several Fortune Global 500 companies are headquartered in Japan. The largest of these is car manufacturer Toyota.

South Korea

Also located in East Asia, South Korea exported $511,800,000,000 worth of goods in 2016, the world's fifth largest volume. A country known for its astonishing jump from developing to developed economy, South Korea's large economy is still growing. As South Korea has relatively few natural resources, the country is reliant on an export-driven economy. The most frequently exported goods include semiconductors, wireless communication devices, automobiles, computers, ships, and petrochemicals. Its largest export partners are China, the United States, and Japan.

Exports By Country

RankCountryExports in US Dollars
1China1,990,000,000,000
2United States1,456,000,000,000
3Germany1,322,000,000,000
4Japan634,900,000,000
5South Korea511,800,000,000
6France507,000,000,000
7Hong Kong502,500,000,000
8Netherlands495,400,000,000
9Italy454,100,000,000
10United Kingdom407,300,000,000
11Canada393,500,000,000
12Mexico374,300,000,000
13Singapore361,600,000,000
14Switzerland318,100,000,000
15Taiwan310,400,000,000
16United Arab Emirates298,600,000,000
17Russia281,900,000,000
18Spain280,500,000,000
19Belgium277,700,000,000
20India268,600,000,000
21Thailand214,300,000,000
22Ireland206,000,000,000
23Poland195,700,000,000
24Australia191,700,000,000
25Brazil184,500,000,000

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