Unknown to many, Afghanistan has a pretty big trade economy. The country experienced a negative trade balance for the year 2016 where they spent US $482M on exports and imported US $3.77B making the country one of the top 100 biggest importers. The country’s most imported products include wheat flour, ornamental parts, non-edible fats and oils, and petroleum gas. Since 2012 the volume of imports has gone down suggesting that Afghanistan has become self-sufficient.
Afghanistan's Biggest Import Partners
Afghanistan’s imports come from their closest neighbors. Listed in the order of the amount of imports, here are Afghanistan’s import partners:
Iran is Afghanistan’s largest import partner making up for 19% of its imports. According to the United Nations COMTRADE database, imports from Iran cost about US$1.27B in the past year. Iran exports the following products to Afghanistan: fruits and their products, seeds from soil, nuts, mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, iron and steel, stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials, optical, photo, technical, medical apparatus, cocoa and cocoa preparations, and fertilizers among many other products.
Pakistan is the second largest exporter to Afghanistan. COMTRADE documented the imports from Pakistan to be US$1.2B in the year 2016. This represents 18% of the total imports. Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan include toys, games and their components, iron and steel materials, milling products, malt, starches, wheat gluten, machinery, cocoa and cocoa preparations, cereals, and building materials among many other products.
The United Nation’s COMTRADE records indicate the total imports from China to Afghanistan to be US$1.09B for the year 2016. This makes up for 16% of the total imports. The biggest imports from China include meat and the associated products, explosives, pyrotechnics, matches, pyrophoric, fruits and nuts, types of fabric, electrical, electronic equipment, machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, and paper and its products among many others.
Kazakhstan accounted for 9.5% of Afghanistan’s imports. This amounted to US$621.62M in the year 2016. The main imports from Kazakhstan are: milling products, malt, starches, wheat products, mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, iron and steel, machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers, vegetables, and fertilizers among many others.
Uzbekistan accounts for 6.1% of Afghanistan’s imports, which amounts to US$3.99.14M as of the year 2016. Imports from Uzbekistan include optical and photo components, technical medical apparatus, iron and steel, edible vegetables, milling products, malt, starches, and wheat products among many others.
5.4% of Afghanistan's total imports come from Turkmenistan. This cost about US$355.4M in 2016. Imports from this country include mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, milling products, malt, starches, inlin, wheat gluten, fertilizers, optical, photo, technical, medical apparatus, dairy products, eggs, and animal oils and fats among many others.
Malaysia accounts for 4% of Afghanistan’s total imports. This is about US$264.86M. Some of the products that Malaysia exports to Afghanistan are already supplied by the other countries in larger quantities. These products include animal/vegetable fats and oils, cleavage products, mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, and different types of fabric among many others.