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 shipped US$107.6 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. That figure represents roughly 0.6% of overall global exports estimated at $17.546 trillion one year earlier.
Applying a continental lens, about three-quarters of Danish exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries. Another 12.6% were sold to Asian buyers with 6.2% going to North America.
Smaller percentages of Danish exports were delivered to importers in Oceania (1.6%) led by Australia and Marshall Islands, Latin America (1.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Africa (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 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Danish exports.
- Germany: US$15.6 billion (14.5% of total Danish exports)
- Sweden: $11.3 billion (10.5%)
- United Kingdom: $6.7 billion (6.2%)
- Norway: $6.3 billion (5.9%)
- United States: $4.7 billion (4.4%)
- Netherlands: $4.6 billion (4.3%)
- France: $3.3 billion (3.1%)
- China: $3.2 billion (2.9%)
- Poland: $3 billion (2.8%)
- Italy: $2.4 billion (2.2%)
- Finland: $2 billion (1.9%)
- Spain: $1.9 billion (1.8%)
- Belgium: $1.7 billion (1.6%)
- Japan: $1.5 billion (1.4%)
- Australia: $959.3 million (0.9%)
Almost two-thirds (64.3%) of Danish exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The Netherlands led all top importers increasing its purchases from Denmark by 22.2% from 2017 to 2018.
The second-fastest growing importer from Denmark was Italy (up 9.3%) trailed by Germany (up 7.6%), Norway (up 7.2%) then the United States (up 6.5%).
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$7.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
- China: -$4.1 billion
- Netherlands: -$3.1 billion
- Belgium: -$1.3 billion
- Poland: -$1 billion
- Russia: -$972.1 million
- Czech Republic: -$881 million
- Italy: -$859.4 million
- Bangladesh: -$652.4 million
- Sweden: -$650.0 million
Among Denmark’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Danish deficits with Sweden (up 413.9%), Germany (up 36.6%) and Poland (up 17.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
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.
Denmark generated an overall $6.5 billion trade surplus in 2018, down by 30.6% from the $9.4 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$3 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
- United States: $1.9 billion
- Norway: $1.2 billion
- Japan: $1 billion
- Australia: $879.7 million
- Finland: $650.8 million
- Saudi Arabia: $593.6 million
- Hong Kong: $573 million
- Faroe Islands: $462.2 million
- Iceland: $461.3 million
Among Denmark’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Danish surpluses with Faroe Islands (up 21.1%), Iceland (up 19.2%) and Saudi Arabia (up 19.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
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
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 16, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Denmark. Accessed on March 16, 2019