A constituent country belonging to the Netherlands and located in the southern Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela, Aruba shipped US$83.6 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 19.9% gain from 2018 to 2019 and a 4.7% increase since 2015.
The latest available country-specific data prorated for 2019 shows that 100% of products exported from Aruba were bought by importers in: Venezuela (31.5% of its global total), United States (31%), Netherlands (20.1%), Curaçao (12.2%), Colombia (5.1%), Panama (0.1%) and Spain (0.01%).
Given Aruba’s population of some 112,00 people, its total $83.6 million in 2019 exports translates to about $750 for every resident on the Caribbean island.
Aruba’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Aruban global shipments during 2019 presented 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.
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: US$21.8 million (26.1% of total exports)
- Beverages: $14.2 million (17%)
- Gems, precious metals: $9.4 million (11.3%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $6.2 million (7.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.7 million (3.2%)
- Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: $2.5 million (3%)
- Machinery including computers: $2.3 million (2.8%)
- Vehicles: $2.3 million (2.8%)
- Iron, steel: $2.1 million (2.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2 million (2.4%)
Aruba’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (78.6%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Stone, plaster, cement and asbestos was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 6,749% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was electric machinery and equipment thanks to a 119.4% appreciation. Aruba’s shipments of tobacco including manufactured substitutes posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 101.1%.
The leading decliner among Aruba’s top 10 export categories was beverages which fell -17.5% year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, cigars and cigarettes were Aruba’s most valuable exported product at 26.1% of the island’s total. In second place were alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs (15.7%) trailed by jewelry (10%), personal toiletry, shaving preparations and deodorants (3.3%), monument and building stones or art (3%), iron or steel scrap (2.4%), beauty, makeup and skin care preparations (2.2%), wrist or pocket watches without precious metal case (2%), current or new unused stamps (1.7%), electric generating sets or converters (1.6%) then nickel waste or scrap (1.5%).
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$1.3 million (Up by 20.2% since 2018)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $36,000 (Reversing a -$1.2 million deficit)
- Lead: $31,000 (Down by -75.6%)
From a metals perspective, Aruba has positive net exports in the international trade of nickel and lead in 2019. In turn, these cashflows indicate Aruba’s competitive advantages under these metal categories.
Overall Aruba incurred a -$1.24 billion trade deficit for 2019, up 4.1% from -$1.19 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.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$118.4 million (Up by 43.3% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$91.9 million (Down by -4.3%)
- Vehicles: -$78.1 million (Down by -7%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$68.9 million (Down by -10.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$54.9 million (Up by 7.6%)
- Beverages: -$52 million (Up by 7.8%)
- Meat: -$51.8 million (Up by 7.5%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$39.8 million (Up by 1.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$35.6 million (Up by 18.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$35.2 million (Up by 6.7%)
Aruba has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under electrical machinery and equipment and the machinery including computers categories.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Aruba’s total exported goods represent 1.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($4.487 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 1.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 1.4% for 2018. This suggests a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Aruba’s total economic performance.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Aruba’s unemployment rate was 7.7% in 2018 according to ranking website Statista.
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 April 13, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 13, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 13, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 13, 2020
The World Factbook, Central America and Caribbean: Aruba. Accessed on April 13, 2020
United Nations, World Statistics Pocketbook: Aruba. Accessed on April 13, 2020
Wikipedia, Aruba. Accessed on April 13, 2020
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Aruba by industry. Accessed on April 13, 2020
Wikipedia, Flag of Aruba. Accessed on April 13, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 13, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 13, 2020