A constituent country belonging to the Netherlands and located in the southern Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela, Aruba shipped US$69.8 million worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -40% drop since 2018 and a -22.5% decrease from 2017 to 2018.
The latest data prorated from 2018 shows that 100% of products exported from Aruba were bought by importers in: Colombia (43.9% of the global total), United States (37.6%), Venezuela (8.5%), Netherlands (8.4%) and Curaçao (1.6%).
Given Aruba’s population of some 116,576 people, its total $69.8 million in 2018 exports translates to about $600 for every resident on the Caribbean island.
In macroeconomic terms, Aruba’s total exported goods represent 1.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($4.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 1.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 1.6% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Aruba’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Aruba also provided $2.3 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 53.6% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Aruba’s unemployment rate was 7.7% in 2016 according to ranking website Photius.
Aruba’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Aruban global shipments during 2018 at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Aruba.
- Beverages: US$17.2 million (24.7% of total exports)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $10.9 million (15.6%)
- Gems, precious metals: $8.5 million (12.2%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $4.9 million (7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.4 million (3.4%)
- Machinery including computers: $2.4 million (3.4%)
- Toys, games: $2 million (2.9%)
- Iron, steel: $2 million (2.8%)
- Vehicles: $1.9 million (2.7%)
- Clocks, watches including parts: $1.3 million (1.9%)
Aruba’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Toys and games was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 439.4% since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was vehicles thanks to a 69% appreciation.
Aruba’s shipments of machinery including computers posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 57.6%.
The leading decliner among Aruba’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel which fell -77.5% year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs represent Aruba’s most valuable exported product at 23.4% of the country’s total. In second place was cigars and cigarettes (15.6%) trailed by jewelry (11.1%), table games including bowling equipment (2.8%), iron or steel scrap (2.8%), perfumes and toilet waters (2.4%), then beauty, makeup or skin care preparations (2.3%).
The following types of Aruban product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Nickel: US$1 million (Reversing a -$14,000 deficit in 2017)
- Lead: $127,000 (Up by 115.3% since 2017)
Aruba has positive net exports in the international trade of nickel and lead in 2018. In turn, these cashflows indicate Aruba’s competitive advantages under these metal categories.
Overall Aruba incurred a -$1.2 billion trade deficit for 2018, up 7.9% from -$1.1 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Aruba that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Aruba’s goods trail Aruban importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$96.1 million (Up by 10.7% since 2017)
- Vehicles: -$84 million (Up by 5.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$82.6 million (Up by 9.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$76.7 million (Up by 38.5%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$51 million (Up by 34.3%)
- Meat: -$48.2 million (Down by -6%)
- Beverages: -$48.2 million (Up by 9.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$39.1 million (Up by 21.1%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$34.1 million (Up by 1.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$33.2 million (Up by 13.7%)
Aruba has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Aruban Export Companies
Not one Aruban corporations rank among the Forbes Global 2000 listing.
Wikipedia also lists exports-related companies from Aruba, as does the e-commerce website Alibaba. Selected examples are shown below:
- Aruba Airlines (airliner)
- Caribbean Paint Factory (paint, coatings)
- Go! Trading (alcoholic drinks)
- Govaard Trading Company (auto parts)
- Mag Development Freezone (heavy equipment)
- N.V. Elmar (electricity)
Aruba’s capital city is Oranjestad.
See also Cuba’s Top 10 Exports, Jamaica’s Top 10 Exports and Colombia’s Top Trading Partners
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 27, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 22, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 22, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Photius, Unemployment rate Country Ranks at 2019. Accessed on July 22, 2019
The World Factbook, Central America and Caribbean: Aruba. Accessed on August 27, 2018
United Nations, World Statistics Pocketbook: Aruba. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Aruba. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Aruba by industry. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Flag of Aruba. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 22, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 22, 2019