Cotton Exports by Country

Cotton texture conceptual

Cotton texture conceptual

Global sales from cotton exports by country in 2018 totaled US$59.1 billion. Overall, the value of cotton exports decreased by an average -8% for all exporting countries since 2014 when cotton shipments were valued at $64.2 billion. Year over year, cotton shipments appreciated by 4% from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, Asian suppliers generate the highest portion of worldwide cotton exports at almost two-thirds (64.4%) of the global total. Sources in North America account for 14.8% trailed by suppliers in Europe at 10.4%. Smaller percentages come from Latin America (3.7%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (3.5%) then Oceania (3%) led by Australia.

For research purposes, the two-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for cotton is 52. This broad classification includes raw cotton, cotton yarn, thread and woven fabrics.

Top Cotton Exports by Country


Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of cotton during 2018.

  1. China: US$15.4 billion (26.1% of total cotton exports)
  2. United States: $8.4 billion (14.2%)
  3. India: $8.1 billion (13.8%)
  4. Pakistan: $3.5 billion (5.9%)
  5. Vietnam: $2.8 billion (4.7%)
  6. Turkey: $1.8 billion (3.1%)
  7. Australia: $1.8 billion (3%)
  8. Brazil: $1.7 billion (2.9%)
  9. Hong Kong: $1.4 billion (2.4%)
  10. Italy: $1.4 billion (2.4%)
  11. Germany: $953.4 million (1.6%)
  12. Uzbekistan: $931.3 million (1.6%)
  13. Indonesia: $810.9 million (1.4%)
  14. Spain: $653.1 million (1.1%)
  15. Thailand: $489.8 million (0.8%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 85.1% of global cotton exports in 2018 by value.

Among the top exporters, three cotton exporters realized increases since 2014 were: Vietnam (up 79.7%), United States (up 28.7%) and Brazil (up 14.9%).

Those countries that posted declines in their exported cotton sales were led by: Hong Kong (down -47.2%), Thailand (down -27.9%), Pakistan (down -26%), Germany (down -24.4%) and Spain (down -23.6%).


The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for cotton during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported cotton and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. United States: US$7.4 billion (net export surplus up 37.8% since 2014)
  2. India: $7.3 billion (down -10.4%)
  3. China: $5.5 billion (up 55.1%)
  4. Pakistan: $2.3 billion (down -43.5%)
  5. Australia: $1.7 billion (down -3.3%)
  6. Brazil: $1.5 billion (up 33.7%)
  7. Uzbekistan: $914.5 million (down -4%)
  8. Greece: $373.9 million (down -4.4%)
  9. Burkina Faso: $330.4 million (down -29%)
  10. Turkmenistan: $306.3 million (down -50.7%)
  11. Ivory Coast: $277.1 million (down -10.8%)
  12. Italy: $264.5 million (down -1.3%)
  13. Tajikistan: $200.9 million (up 43.4%)
  14. Spain: $168.1 million (down -38.5%)
  15. Austria: $140.4 million (up 101.9%)

The United States, India and China have the highest surpluses in the international trade of cotton. In turn, these positive cashflows confirm these leading countries’ strong competitive advantages for this specific product category.


The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for cotton during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported cotton purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. Bangladesh: -US$6.5 billion (no 2014 data)
  2. Vietnam: -$2.3 billion (net export deficit up 39% since 2014)
  3. Indonesia: -$1.6 billion (down -0.7%)
  4. South Korea: -$823.6 million (up 6.7%)
  5. Honduras: -$718.3 million (up 21,752%)
  6. Cambodia: -$715.4 million (up 128.7%)
  7. Mexico: -$695.4 million (down -21.1%)
  8. Turkey: -$681.5 million (down -40.6%)
  9. Sri Lanka: -$655.4 million (up 21.1%)
  10. Russia: -$538.6 million (up 19.7%)
  11. Portugal: -$487.3 million (up 4.8%)
  12. Morocco: -$467.7 million (down -7.0%)
  13. Colombia: -$462.6 million (down -0.9%)
  14. Tunisia: -$440.7 million (down -37.1%)
  15. Benin: -$440.3 million (reversing a $236 million surplus)

A world leader manufacturing apparel, Bangladesh incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of cotton–a key ingredient in making a wide range of clothing and related articles. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Bangladesh’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for cotton-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful Bangladeshi demand.


Searchable List of Cotton Exporting Countries in 2018

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of any of the columns below.

RankExporterCotton Exports%World Total
1.China$15.4 billion26.1%
2.United States$8.4 billion14.2%
3.India$8.1 billion13.8%
4.Pakistan$3.5 billion5.9%
5.Vietnam$2.8 billion4.7%
6.Turkey$1.8 billion3.1%
7.Australia$1.8 billion3%
8.Brazil$1.7 billion2.9%
9.Hong Kong$1.4 billion2.4%
10.Italy$1.4 billion2.4%
11.Germany$953.4 million1.6%
12.Uzbekistan$931.3 million1.6%
13.Indonesia$810.9 million1.4%
14.Spain$653.1 million1.1%
15.Thailand$489.8 million0.8%
16.Egypt$482.1 million0.8%
17.Taiwan$465.6 million0.8%
18.Greece$457.3 million0.8%
19.South Korea$453.2 million0.8%
20.Japan$447.9 million0.8%
21.Austria$422.2 million0.7%
22.Netherlands$373.8 million0.6%
23.Malaysia$358.7 million0.6%
24.Mexico$344.5 million0.6%
25.Burkina Faso$332.4 million0.6%
26.Belgium$320.2 million0.5%
27.Ivory Coast$313.6 million0.5%
28.France$313.1 million0.5%
29.Turkmenistan$306.7 million0.5%
30.Tajikistan$204.9 million0.3%
31.Portugal$197.2 million0.3%
32.United Kingdom$195.8 million0.3%
33.Argentina$163.1 million0.3%
34.Switzerland$162.6 million0.3%
35.Czech Republic$141.2 million0.2%
36.Sudan$116.7 million0.2%
37.Benin$109.9 million0.2%
38.Azerbaijan$103.8 million0.2%
39.Kazakhstan$102 million0.2%
40.Mali$96.1 million0.2%
41.Tanzania$85.5 million0.1%
42.El Salvador$77.8 million0.1%
43.Zimbabwe$75.4 million0.1%
44.Romania$72.7 million0.1%
45.Hungary$67.7 million0.1%
46.South Africa$61.9 million0.1%
47.Poland$55.6 million0.1%
48.Russia$53.5 million0.1%
49.Israel$50.3 million0.1%
50.Zambia$49.2 million0.1%
51.Uganda$47.9 million0.1%
52.Cameroon$46.6 million0.1%
53.Bahrain$45 million0.1%
54.Afghanistan$44.7 million0.1%
55.Mauritius$43.6 million0.1%
56.Togo$43.5 million0.1%
57.Slovenia$41.5 million0.1%
58.Morocco$38.9 million0.1%
59.Peru$37.3 million0.1%
60.Singapore$36.6 million0.1%
61.Denmark$36.4 million0.1%
62.Bangladesh$36 million0.1%
63.Costa Rica$35 million0.1%
64.Kyrgyzstan$34.2 million0.1%
65.Lithuania$33.5 million0.1%
66.Bulgaria$33.1 million0.1%
67.Ecuador$31.4 million0.1%
68.Belarus$29.8 million0.1%
69.Colombia$22.5 million0.04%
70.Syrian Arab Republic$22.2 million0.04%
71.Tunisia$21.7 million0.04%
72.Canada$21.2 million0.04%
73.Guatemala$20.4 million0.03%
74.Lesotho$16.7 million0.03%
75.Croatia$15.5 million0.03%
76.Sweden$15.4 million0.03%
77.Chile$15.1 million0.03%
78.Ethiopia$14.9 million0.03%
79.South Sudan$13.8 million0.02%
80.North Macedonia$12.9 million0.02%
81.United Arab Emirates$11.1 million0.02%
82.Chad$9.2 million0.02%
83.Finland$9.2 million0.02%
84.Bosnia/Herzegovina$8.6 million0.01%
85.Mozambique$8.3 million0.01%
86.Latvia$8.1 million0.01%
87.Serbia$7.7 million0.01%
88.Paraguay$7.7 million0.01%
89.Ghana$7.2 million0.01%
90.Nigeria$7 million0.01%
91.Venezuela$7 million0.01%
92.Honduras$6.3 million0.01%
93.Slovakia$6 million0.01%
94.Estonia$5.6 million0.01%
95.Macao$5 million0.01%
96.Sri Lanka$4.7 million0.01%
97.Nicaragua$4.6 million0.01%
98.Senegal$4.3 million0.01%
99.Norway$4.3 million0.01%
100.New Zealand$4 million0.01%
101.Ukraine$2.7 million0.005%
102.Central African Rep$2.4 million0.004%
103.Iran$2.3 million0.004%
104.Malawi$2.3 million0.004%
105.Kenya$2.3 million0.004%
106.Madagascar$2.1 million0.004%
107.Algeria$2 million0.003%
108.Guinea$2 million0.003%
109.Philippines$1.8 million0.003%
110.Myanmar (Burma)$1.8 million0.003%
111.Fiji$1.6 million0.003%
112.Niger$1.5 million0.003%
113.Eswatini$1.2 million0.002%
114.Armenia$1.1 million0.002%
115.Panama$1.1 million0.002%
116.Moldova$1.1 million0.002%
118.Dominican Republic$921,0000.002%
126.US Minor Outlying Is$370,0000.001%
130.Br. Indian Ocean Terr$230,0000.0004%
140.Saint Helena$133,0000.0002%
141.Saudi Arabia$114,0000.0002%
143.Turks/Caicos Islands$65,0000.0001%
148.Sierra Leone$18,0000.00003%
149.French Polynesia$17,0000.00003%
150.North Korea$15,0000.00003%
154.Democr. Rep. Congo$8,0000.00001%
156.British Virgin Islands$7,0000.00001%
158.New Caledonia$6,0000.00001%
160.Brunei Darussalam$5,0000.00001%
167.Faroe Islands$2,0000.000003%

See also Cotton Imports by Country, T-shirt Exports by Country, Leather Shoes Exports by Country and Top Exported Baby Clothing Sales

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 28, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 28, 2019

Wikipedia, Cotton. Accessed on April 28, 2019