The World’s Biggest Exporters

Exporting is one of the most historic forms of logistics trade, taking place internationally between two countries or economies on a massive scale. It’s evident that certain economies have specific and specialised goods which they trade with others, having an advantage over resources and manufacturing methods allows them the opportunity to sell their particular goods at a better price; being able to provide a more attractive deal and often better-quality products than competitors.


According to a study in 2017 using export data from the World Trade Organization, China is the largest exporter, with goods worth $2.26 trillion being exported each year. The main products they trade are electronics and computers which can be found in almost every household across the world. We are all familiar with items stamped ‘MADE IN CHINA’.


The United States of America is the world’s next biggest exporter with goods valued at $1.54 trillion leaving the country each year. The largest trade area the States offers is fuel and petroleum, with the country being blessed with a large selection of natural resources from across the enormous territories of this vast nation.


Being made up of a number of countries, Europe has a few key players in contributing to its export figures. Some of the larger ones include Germany, France, UK, Italy and the Netherlands who all contribute to over $3.64 trillion! The main goods coming out of these countries are transportation and machinery products, with Germany standing out as the biggest exporter of automobiles.


Australia has annual exports of over $160 billion with Iron Ore being the most significant export product accounting for almost a quarter of their total exports. Other notable exports from Australia include animal meat, wool and wine.


Whilst Russia is considered to be part of both Europe and Asia it has a large presence in the global export business making over $520 billion in exports with its key products being petrol, petroleum products and natural gases. Russia has one of the largest reserves of petroleum in the world as a country rich in fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil.

Middle East

The primary export product from this area is oil, being produced by most of the 15 countries that make up the Middle East. This region is one of the largest sources of mineral fuel accounting for a total of $919.1 billion in exports from the area in 2017 according to World Trade Organization statistical sources. To give an idea of the sheer size and growth of the oil trade, the Middle East was responsible for more than 40% of the world’s crude oil exports in 2015 with a value of $325 billion.

South America

In South America, Brazil leads the way for generating nearly half of all of the economy’s exports with its top product being soya beans. The total of South America’s exports came to $501.3 billion in 2017 however this was down from a few years prior when it totalled almost $650 billion (calculated using statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database). The remaining countries that make up South America focus on export products of metals, minerals and petroleum.

The main exported commodities of the African nations are fuels, diamonds, gold and ore with a smaller area exporting tea and coffee. 2017 exports from Africa totalled $463.1 billion. Whilst African trade is dominated by its mass of natural resources, each trade varies from country to country. South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of gold and platinum whilst also being one of the leading producers of metals and coal.

The Future of Exports?

With new regulations being discussed and implemented across the globe (and in particular the impact of Brexit for the UK and rest of Europe) the future of exports is currently unclear. With the current impact of fossil fuels on our planet, global warming needs to be stopped, but with a large majority of the world’s exports being fuels, oils and petroleum where will this leave the economies that rely on these products? Only time will tell.

Written by Emma Bray – Recruitment Consultant – Shipping & Logistics at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions.

Posted in categories: Cargo, Imports, International, Shipping