Israel shipped US$61.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. That figure represents roughly 0.4% of overall global exports estimated at $17.546 trillion one year earlier.
From a continental perspective, 32.3% of Israeli exports by value were delivered to European countries while 29% were sold to North American importers. Israel shipped another 28.1% worth of goods to Asia.
Smaller percentages went Latin America (2.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (1.3%) and Oceania (1%) led by Australia.
Israel’s Top 15 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Israel’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Israeli shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage consumption of total Israeli exports.
- United States: US$16.8 billion (27.1% of total Israeli exports)
- China: $4.8 billion (7.7%)
- United Kingdom: $4.4 billion (7.1%)
- Hong Kong: $4.2 billion (6.8%)
- Netherlands: $2.3 billion (3.7%)
- Belgium: $2.2 billion (3.5%)
- India: $2.1 billion (3.5%)
- Turkey: $1.9 billion (3.1%)
- Germany: $1.8 billion (2.9%)
- France: $1.6 billion (2.6%)
- Switzerland: $1.4 billion (2.2%)
- Brazil: $1.2 billion (1.9%)
- Japan: $1.1 billion (1.8%)
- South Korea: $972.4 million (1.6%)
- Italy: $970 million (1.6%)
Over three-quarters (77%) of Israeli exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trading partners.
Israel increased its exports to the following countries at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018: China (up 44.8%), Japan (up 38.5%), Turkey (up 34.2%) then Brazil (up 27.6%).
Belgium led the top nations with declining purchases of Israeli exports thanks to its -19.5% decline year over year. In second place was the United Kingdom (down -14.7%) ahead of France (down -10.9%) and Switzerland (down -6.7%).
Israel incurred an overall -$14.7 billion product trade deficit for 2018. That dollar figure represents an 84.3% expansion from the -$8 billion in red ink one year earlier.
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.
Israel incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$5.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
- Turkey: -$4.3 billion
- Russia: -$4 billion
- Germany: -$2.9 billion
- Italy: -$2 billion
- Japan: -$1.6 billion
- Belgium: -$932.4 million
- Vietnam: -$810.1 million
- Czech Republic: -$766.3 million
- Spain: -$690.4 million
Among Israel’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Israeli deficits with Russia (up 780.1%), Turkey (up 192.7%) and Czech Republic (up 78.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Israel’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Israel to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
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.
Israel incurred the highest trade surpluses at the expense of the following countries.
- United States: US$6.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
- Hong Kong: $2.9 billion
- United Kingdom: $2.3 billion
- Netherlands: $814.3 million
- Brazil: $774.5 million
- Cyprus: $624.9 million
- Canada: $435.7 million
- Australia: $345.4 million
- Nigeria: $236.4 million
- Greece: $226.7 million
Among Israel’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Israeli surpluses with Cyprus (up 1,622%), United Kingdom (up 163.9%) and Nigeria (up 62.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
Year over year, Israel went from a -$620.4 million deficit with the Netherlands during 2017 to an $814.3 million surplus for 2018.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Israel’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Israel to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Israeli Export Companies
Ten Israeli corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the world-class Israeli companies that Forbes included:
- Bank Hapoalim (financial institution)
- Bank Leumi (financial institution)
- Check Point Software (information systems)
- Delek Group (investment services)
- FIBI Holdings (regional bank)
- IDB Holding (investment services)
- Israel Corp (investment services)
- Israel Discount Bank (regional bank)
- Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (regional bank)
- Teva Pharmaceutical (health care)
Shown within parentheses is the industry in which each country operates.
See also Israel’s Top 10 Imports and Israel’s Top 10 Exports
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 15, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 15, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 15, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 15, 2019
Alibaba, Sourcing Buyers. Accessed on March 15, 2019