Comprised of the Middle Eastern territories known as the West Bank plus the Gaza Strip, the State of Palestine shipped US$926.5 million worth of goods around the globe in 2016.
That dollar amount reflects a -3.3% downturn from 2015 to 2016 but a 2.9% gain since 2013.
Data from 2016 shows that 97.3% of products exported from Palestine were bought by importers in: Israel (83.2% of the global total), Jordan (5.6%), United Arab Emirates (2.5%), Saudi Arabia (2%), Kuwait (1.2%), United States (1.1%), Qatar (1.1%) and United Kingdom (0.7%).
Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Palestine’s exported goods plus services represent 20% of total Palestinian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.
Given Palestine’s population of 4.8 million people, its total $926.5 million in 2016 exports translates to roughly $200 for every resident in that country.
Palestine’s unemployment rate was 32.4% as of June 2018 per Trading Economics.
Palestine’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Palestinian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Palestine.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, monumental or building stone represent Palestine’s most valuable exported product followed by ethylene polymers, virgin olive oil, tobacco cigarettes and fresh or chilled cucumbers.
- Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: US$176.7 million (19.1% of total exports)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $101.7 million (11%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $78.5 million (8.5%)
- Vegetables: $60.8 million (6.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $48 million (5.2%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $34.5 million (3.7%)
- Footwear: $33.1 million (3.6%)
- Wood: $29.7 million (3.2%)
- Iron, steel: $27.9 million (3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $24.3 million (2.6%)
Palestine’s top 10 exports accounted for two-thirds (66.4%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fruits and nuts was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 37.3% year over year since 2016.
In second place for improving export sales was animal/vegetable fats, oils and waxes which rose 10%.
Palestinian plastics and articles made from plastic posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 5%.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Palestinian export categories was iron and steel which declined by -29%.
The following types of Palestinian 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 represent 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.
- Stone, plaster, cement, asbestos: US$147 million (Up by 3.3% since 2016)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $49 million (Down by -8.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $17.8 million (Up by 60.7%)
- Vegetables: $11.3 million (Down by -57.6%)
- Footwear: $8.7 million (Down by -38.6%)
- Copper: $8.4 million (Down by -43.2%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $474,000 (Up by 16.2%)
- Lead: $409,000 (Down by -31.8%)
Palestine has highly positive net exports in the international trade of natural monumental or building stone. In turn, these cashflows indicate Palestine’s strong competitive advantages under the stone, plaster, cement and asbestos product category.
Overall, Palestine incurred a -$4.4 billion product trade deficit for 2016.
Below are exports from Palestine that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Palestine’s goods trail Palestinian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.1 billion (Down by -5.2% since 2016)
- Vehicles: -$272.3 million (Up by 9.6%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$253.5 million (Up by 26.4%)
- Machinery including computers: -$247.4 million (Down by -2.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$229.5 million (Down by -4.2%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$168.5 million (Up by 13.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$164.4 million (Up by 44.7%)
- Cereals: -$148.7 million (Up by 4.9%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$147.9 million (Up by 9.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$138.7 million (Down by -1.9%)
Palestine has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category, particularly for electrical energy, refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases.
Palestinian Export Companies
Not one Palestinian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Palestine. Selected examples are shown below:
- Cremisan Cellars (winery)
- Jawwal (cellular network products)
- Lone Tree Brewery (beer, other beverages)
- Paltel (telecommunications)
- Sinokrot (food products, bottling)
- Taybeh Brewery (beer, other beverages)
See also Top Middle Eastern Export Countries, Israel’s Top 10 Exports and Jordan’s Top 10 Exports
FlagPictures.org, Palestine’s flag. Accessed on October 24, 2018
Forbes, 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 24, 2018
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on October 24, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 24, 2018
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 24, 2018
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 24, 2018
The World Factbook, Middle East: Gaza Strip. Accessed on October 24, 2018
The World Factbook, Middle East: West Bank. Accessed on October 24, 2018
Wikipedia, Category: Companies based in the State of Palestine. Accessed on October 24, 2018
Wikipedia, State of Palestine. Accessed on October 24, 2018