Top Countries by Total Exports – 1970/2020

Exports of goods and services represent the value of all market goods and other services provided to the rest of the world. They include the value of goods, freight, insurance, transport, travel, royalties, licensing fees, and other services, such as communication, construction, finance, information, business, personal, and government services. They exclude income from employment and investment (formerly called factor services) and transfer payments. Top Countries by Total Exports – 1970/2020.

In today’s new article we will look at the world’s top exporting nations from 1970 to 2020. Data are in current U.S. dollars.

Top Countries by Total Exports – 1970/2020

Let’s start by answering a first question. In 2020, what is the world’s leading export nation? In 2020, China will be the world’s leading exporting nation. In fact, with a value of 2,723,250,000,000, China has over the course of time decisively overtaken the United States. In 2020, the US will have a value of 2,127,248,000,000. The gap between China and the US has never been so wide. In previous years the gap was much closer. In third place among export nations is Germany with a value of 1,667,710,000,000. More distant is Japan, which is currently hosting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (here are some figures on the medal table of the Olympics from 1896 to 2021). This is followed by three European countries: the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. The top 15 also includes India, which has an export value of 484,953,337,390, surpassing nations such as Canada and Switzerland.

50 years ago, in 1970, the situation was quite different. The world was not yet dominated by China and the United States had an export value of 59,709,000,000. In second place was Germany, which had almost half the value of the US. The UK, France and Japan were also in the top 15. Canada was sixth in 1970, followed by Italy with a value of 17,194,793,777. The world’s top 15 nations did not yet include India, which, like China, grew in economic values in the following decades.

Coronavirus impact on exports – 2020

One question that will have occurred to those reading this article is: what has been the impact of the Coronavirus on exports? While data for individual countries worldwide is not yet available, one thing is certain: many countries have lost out on exports.

In the following table you can see the data sorted by the countries that had a positive (or less negative) change in 2020 compared to 2019.

Only 14 countries had a positive figure in 2020 compared to 2019. Among these is China. Despite being the country where the pandemic started, in 2020 China managed to end the year on a positive note with a positive change in exports in dollars of + 81977065351. In second place were Ireland and Luxembourg. Respectively, these two countries had a positive change of + 31834124129 and +8737374266. But the top 14 also include a number of African countries, such as Guinea

Conversely, if we look at the countries that lost the most in terms of exports from 2020 to 2019, we find the United States. The USA in fact lost -3875030000 dollars in just one year. This is certainly a high impact figure due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This figure is also seen in the main European economies. Germany, the United Kingdom and France in fact had heavily negative variations. Germany with 142879607676, UK with -138788055091 and France with -132793726041.

At the bottom of the list are Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Canada and Italy. And other economically developed countries such as the Netherlands, Hong Kong, etc. If you wish, you can search for the country of interest in the “search” module within the table or sort the data by exports from 2019 or 2020.

Exports USA vs China

In the video above we saw how at one point China not only entered the Top 15 nations in the world for exports but also became the top nation. But when did China’s export overtaking of the United States occur. And what was the gap between these two nations in previous years? The chart below can help us answer these questions.

As can be seen in the chart for decades the dsitance between the US has been increasing. Especially in the 1980s and 1990s, the distance in terms of exports between these two nations seemed to have widened considerably. In 2000, for example, the U.S. was exporting almost 4 times China in absolute terms. But from the early 2000s onwards China began to grow more and more. Growth that was strong even in the years of the financial crisis of 2008/2009 and the European crisis of 2013. In 2013, in fact, China overtook the United States. Overtaking lasted 3 years, since the United States in 2016 have managed again to become the first nation in the world for exports and then be surpassed again in 2017. In 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the difference between China and the United States increased. China in fact had an increase in the figure while the United States returned to the 2012 value. It will be interesting to see the 2021 figure to understand how the US will have recovered and if the difference between these two countries will have decreased.

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I used World Bank sources to create this article:

Exports of goods and services represent the value of all goods and other market services provided to the rest of the world.

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