Aruba’s Top 10 Exports

Aruban flag courtesy of Wikimedia

Aruban flag (Wikimedia)

A constituent country belonging to the Netherlands and located in the southern Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela, Aruba shipped US$90.1 million worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -46.3% drop since 2018 and a -5.2% slide from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Aruba’s exported goods plus services represent 70.2% of total Aruban economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, almost half of Aruban exports by value were delivered to Latin American destinations (excluding Mexico) plus other Caribbean countries. North American customers received about 21% of Aruba’s exports while 17% were sold to importers in Europe. Aruba shipped another 5% worth of goods to Asia.

Given Aruba’s population of some 115,000 people, its total $90.1 million in 2017 exports translates to roughly $800 for every resident on the Caribbean island.

Aruba’s unemployment rate was 10.6% in 2010, the latest estimate available from UN Data.

Aruba’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Aruban global shipments during 2017 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.

Drilling down to 4-digit HTS codes, Aruba’s most valuable exported goods are alcoholic beverages ($23 million), cigars and cigarettes ($13.4 million), jewelry ($9.4 million), iron or steel scrap ($8.7 million), copper waste ($5.6 million) then perfumes and toilet waters ($2.8 million).

  1. Beverages: US$24.6 million (27.3% of total exports)
  2. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $13.4 million (14.9%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: $10.1 million (11.2%)
  4. Iron, steel: $8.8 million (9.8%)
  5. Copper: $5.7 million (6.3%)
  6. Perfumes, cosmetics: $5.1 million (5.6%)
  7. Clocks, watches including parts: $2.4 million (2.6%)
  8. Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.3 million (2.5%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2 million (2.2%)
  10. Aluminum: $1.6 million (1.8%)

Aruba’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (84.2%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Aluminum represents the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 171.5% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was iron and steel which rose 65.7%.

Electrical machinery and equipment shipped from Aruba posted the third-fastest gain in value via a 49.1% gain.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Aruban export categories was beverages which slid -29.8% year over year.


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.

  1. Iron, steel: US$6.3 million (Up by 109.6% since 2016)
  2. Aircraft, spacecraft: $153,000 (Up by 628.6%)
  3. Lead: $59,000 (Reversing a -$74,000 deficit)

Aruba has highly positive net exports in the international trade of iron and steel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Aruba’s competitive advantages under the iron and steel product category.


Overall Aruba incurred a -$1.1 billion trade deficit for 2017 expanding from $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.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$86.7 million (Up by 10.6% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$79.9 million (Up by 6.2%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$75.4 million (Up by 4.7%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: -$55.3 million (Up by 21%)
  5. Meat: -$51.3 million (Up by 17%)
  6. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$44 million (Up by 27%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$38 million (Up by 7%)
  8. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$33.5 million (Up by 6.8%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: -$32.3 million (Up by 17.7%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$30.8 million (Up by 17.8%)

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

Research Sources:
Forbes 2016 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 August 27, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 27, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 27, 2018

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