Greenland’s Top 10 Exports

Greenland flag courtesy of

Greenland flag (

An independent constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark located east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Greenland shipped US$552.5 million worth of goods around the globe in 2016. That dollar amount results from a 14.9% gain since 2012 and a 39.9% uptick from 2015 to 2016.

Greenland’s top 10 exports accounted for 96.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Greenland’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $2.173 billion in 2015 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent approximately a quarter (25.4%) of total Greenlandic economic output.

From a continental perspective, about 95% of Greenlandic exports by value were delivered to countries in Europe even though Greenland is physically closer to North America.

Given Greenland’s population of 57,713 people, its total $552.5 million in 2016 exports translates to roughly $9,600 for every resident in that country.

Greenland’s unemployment rate was an estimated 9.1% in 2015, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.

Greenland’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Greenlandic global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Greenland.

  1. Fish: US$414 million (74.9% of total exports)
  2. Meat/seafood preparations: $98.5 million (17.8%)
  3. Ships, boats: $13.6 million (2.5%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $1.5 million (0.3%)
  5. Collector items, art, antiques: $939,000 (0.2%)
  6. Iron, steel: $687,000 (0.12%)
  7. Aircraft, spacecraft: $667,000 (0.12%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $604,000 (0.11%)
  9. Furskins, artificial fur: $451,000 (0.08%)
  10. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $403,000 (0.07%)

Ships and boats was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 54,184% for the 5-year period starting in 2012.

In second place for improving export sales was optical, technical and medical apparatus which was up by 48.8%.

Greenlandic fish posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 36.2%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Greenlandic export categories was aircraft and spacecraft which was down by -76.7%.


The following types of Greenlandic 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 is 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. Fish: US$411.1 million (Up by 36.5% since 2012)
  2. Meat/seafood preparations: $86.5 million (Down by -26%)
  3. Ships, boats: $4.6 million (Down by -206.8%)
  4. Collector items, art, antiques: $516,000 (Up by 96.2%)
  5. Furskins, artificial fur: $159,000 (Down by -82.7%)

Greenland has highly positive net exports in the international trade of fish. In turn, these cashflows indicate Greenland’s strong competitive advantages under the fish product category.


Overall, Greenland incurred a -$70.5 million product trade deficit for 2016.

Below are exports from Greenland that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Greenland’s goods trail Greenlandic importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$75.5 million (Up by 0.3% since 2012)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$60.6 million (Down by -72.2%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$30.5 million (Down by -39.3%)
  4. Articles of iron or steel: -$28.7 million (Up by 18.4%)
  5. Vehicles : -$24 million (Up by 17.2%)
  6. Meat: -$20.9 million (Down by -7.3%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$20.5 million (Down by -16.5%)
  8. Cereal/milk preparations: -$17.1 million (Down by -8.6%)
  9. Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: -$16.5 million (Up by 3.5%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$16.2 million (Down by -4.3%)

Greenland has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.


Greenlandic Export Companies

Not one corporation based in Greenland ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.

Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Greenland. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Great Greenland Furhouse (fur clothing)
  • Greenland Brewhouse (beer)
  • Nunaoil (oil, gas)
  • Royal Greenland (fish)

Greenland’s capital city is Nuuk.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also France’s Top 10 Exports, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries

Research Sources:, Flag of Greenland. Accessed on September 8, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 8, 2017

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 8, 2017

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 8, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 8, 2017

The World Factbook, North America: Greenland. Accessed on September 8, 2017

Wikipedia, Greenland. Accessed on September 8, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Greenland. Accessed on September 8, 2017