A Scandinavian country in northern Europe, Denmark is located south of fellow Nordic nations Sweden and Norway and is bordered to its south by Europe’s largest economic power Germany.
Denmark exported US$109.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 16.1% increase since 2015 and a 1.8% uptick from 2018 to 2019.
Applying a continental lens, approaching two-thirds of Denmark’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 13.2% were sold to importers in Asia. Denmark shipped another 6.5% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.3%), Latin America (1.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania led by Australia (1.2%).
Denmark’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Denmark’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Danish shipments by dollar value during 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Danish exports.
- Germany: US$17.2 billion (15.7% of Denmark’s total exports)
- Sweden: $12.6 billion (11.5%)
- Norway: $7.5 billion (6.9%)
- United Kingdom: $7.2 billion (6.5%)
- Netherlands: $6.3 billion (5.7%)
- United States: $6.1 billion (5.6%)
- China: $4.5 billion (4.1%)
- Poland: $3.9 billion (3.6%)
- France: $3.8 billion (3.5%)
- Italy: $2.7 billion (2.5%)
- Finland: $2.3 billion (2.1%)
- Spain: $2.2 billion (2%)
- Belgium: $2.2 billion (2%)
- Japan: $1.8 billion (1.7%)
- Turkey: $1.1 billion (1%)
About three-quarters (74.2%) of Danish exports in 2019 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
China led all top importers by increasing its purchases from Denmark by 20.5% from 2018 to 2019. The second-fastest growing importer from Denmark was Turkey (up 17.2%) trailed by Netherlands (up 14.7%), Poland (up 12.2%) then Belgium (up 10.3%).
Leading the decliners year over year were the United Kingdom (down -8.8%) and Germany (down -7%).
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Denmark incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Germany: -US$6.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- China: -$3.2 billion
- Netherlands: -$2.2 billion
- Belgium: -$1.1 billion
- Sweden: -$962.8 million
- Czech Republic: -$944.6 million
- Italy: -$856.2 million
- Bangladesh: -$681.9 million
- Poland: -$678.5 million
- Russia: -$581.5 million
Among Denmark’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Danish deficits with Sweden (up 38.7%), Czech Republic (up 6.5%) and Bangladesh (up 4.2%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Denmark’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Denmark to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Overall Denmark generated a $12.9 billion trade surplus in 2019, up by 103% from the $6.3 billion in black ink one year earlier.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Denmark incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United Kingdom: US$2.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- Norway: $2.3 billion
- United States: $1.9 billion
- Japan: $1.1 billion
- Australia: $728.1 million
- Finland: $723.5 million
- Saudi Arabia: $468.8 million
- Faroe Islands: $465.4 million
- Singapore: $403.8 million
- Iceland: $381.5 million
Among Denmark’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Danish surpluses with Norway (up 102.9%), Finland (up 10.4%) and Japan (up 10.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019. In addition, Denmark went from a -$5.3 million deficit trading with Singapore in 2018 to post $403.8 million in black ink for 2019.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Denmark’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Denmark to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Danish Trading Partners
Fourteen Danish corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Danish companies that Forbes included:
- A.P. Moller-Maersk Group (transportation, energy)
- Carlsberg (beverages)
- Coloplast (medical equipment, supplies)
- DSV (transportation, logistics)
- Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals)
- Novozymes (biotechs)
- TDC (telecommunications services)
- Vestas Wind Systems (electrical equipment)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Denmark. Selected examples are shown below:
- Arla Foods (dairy products)
- House of Amber (jewelry)
- Kopenhagen Fur (fur clothing, accessories)
- Lego Group (toys)
- Pharma Nord (pharmaceuticals)
- Royal Copenhagen (porcelain)
- Tuborg (brewery)
See also Denmark’s Top 10 Imports and Denmark’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Wikipedia, Denmark. Accessed on March 16, 2020