Romania’s Top 10 Exports

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Situated at the juncture of Southeastern Europe with Eastern Europe while sharing land borders with Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria, Romania shipped US$70.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 7.4% gain since 2013 and an 11.3% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Romania’s exported goods plus services represent 43.9% of total Romanian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, $58.4 billion or 82.6% of Romanian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries. Another 9.8% were sold to Asian countries. Romania shipped smaller percentages to importers in Africa (3.3%), North America (2.2%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.6%).

Given Romania’s population of 21.5 million people, its total $70.8 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $3,300 for every resident in that country.

Romania’s unemployment rate was 4.6% as of January 2018 down from 5.4% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Romania’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Romanian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Romania.

At the more detailed Harmonized Tariff System code level, Romania’s most valuable exported products are automotive parts and accessories followed by insulated wire or cable, cars, refined petroleum oils and electrical or optical circuit boards and panels.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$12.3 billion (17.4% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $11.5 billion (16.2%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $7.8 billion (11%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $2.9 billion (4%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $2.7 billion (3.8%)
  6. Rubber, rubber articles: $2.4 billion (3.5%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.4 billion (3.4%)
  8. Cereals: $2.3 billion (3.2%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.2 billion (3.1%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $2 billion (2.8%)

These top 10 product categories represent over two-thirds (68.5%) of total Romanian exports.

Optical, technical and medical apparatus was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 73.2% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales were Romanian shipments of mineral fuels including oil via a 23.9% gain driven by improved international sales of refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases. Romania’s exported vehicles went up 17.4% driven by stronger sales of auto parts and accessories followed by articles made from iron or steel sold to global clients which rose 11%.

Two top product categories declined, unknit and non-crocheted clothing or accessories dropped -4.3% while Romania’s exports of cereals fell -2.8% dragged down by lower global sales of wheat and meslin.


The following types of Romanian 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 reflect 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. Vehicles: US$3.7 billion (Up by 35.6% since 2016)
  2. Cereals: $1.8 billion (Up by 5.9%)
  3. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $1.7 billion (Up by 0.6%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.3 billion (Down by -14.6%)
  5. Wood: $1.1 billion (Down by -3.8%)
  6. Oil seeds: $1 billion (Up by 15%)
  7. Rubber, rubber articles: $840.7 million (Down by -5.6%)
  8. Ships, boats: $795.9 million (Down by -14.1%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $545.2 million (Reversing a -$149.4 million deficit for 2016)
  10. Footwear: $503.2 million (Down by -17.7%)

Romania has highly positive net exports in the international trade of vehicles, notably auto parts or accessories, cars, bicycles and motorcycles. In turn, these cashflows indicate Romania’s strong competitive advantages under the vehicles product category.


Romania incurred an overall -$11 billion trade deficit during 2016 down -19.2% from a deficit equal to -$13.6 billion for 2009.

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

  1. Plastics, plastic articles: -US$3.1 billion (Up by 13.3% since 2016)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$2.8 billion (Up by 46.4%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$2.7 billion (Up by 18.2%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: -$2.5 billion (Up by 10.2%)
  5. Iron, steel: -$1 billion (Up by 22.7%)
  6. Other chemical goods: -$949.2 million (Up by 10.9%)
  7. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$884.2 million (Reversing a $60.9 million surplus)
  8. Paper, paper items: -$709 million (Down by -1.8%)
  9. Articles of iron or steel: -$662.1 million (Up by 35.9%)
  10. Fruits, nuts: -$646.4 million (Up by 14.5%)

Romania has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for plastics and items made from plastic.


Romanian Export Companies

Not one Romanian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015.

Wikipedia also lists Romanian companies engaged in international trade. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Antibiotice Iași (pharmaceuticals)
  • Arctic S.A. (household appliances)
  • Automobile Dacia (cars)
  • Daewoo-Mangalia Heavy Industries DMHI (ships)
  • European Drinks & Foods (food, beverages)
  • Farmec (cosmetics, personal hygiene)
  • Jolidon (lingerie, swimsuits)
  • Roman (trucks, buses)
  • Romstal (sanitary wear)
  • Tehnoton (home electronics, machinery)


Romania’s capital city is Bucharest.

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

See also Romania’s Top Trading Partners, Moldova’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 28, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Romania. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 28, 2018