Top Milk Exporting Countries

Pouring a glass of milk

Milk exports worth billions

Milk exports by country totaled US$23.1 billion in 2016, down by -19.3% for all milk-shipping nations over the five-year period starting in 2012. Year over year, the value of global milk exports dipped -9.2% from 2015 to 2016.

From a continent perspective, Europe generated over half (53%) of global milk exports. Led by New Zealand, countries in the continent of Oceania placed second at 22.6%.

Asia was responsible for 6.7% of worldwide exported milk, followed by North American milk exporters at 6.7% and Latin America (excluding Mexico) at 5.2%. Less than one percent (0.8%) of global milk exports originate from Africa.

There are two major product classifications used for the international trade of milk. The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 0401 for milk and cream that is not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter. For milk and cream that does contain concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter, the 4-digit code is 0402.

Sweetened milk under tariff code 0402 amounted to $15.8 billion (68.3% of all exported milk) while unsweetened milk under 0401 was valuated at $7.3 billion (31.7%).

Milk Exports by Country


Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of milk during 2016:

  1. New Zealand: US$4.4 billion (18.9% of total milk exports)
  2. Germany: $2.6 billion (11%)
  3. Netherlands: $1.9 billion (8.1%)
  4. France: $1.5 billion (6.5%)
  5. United States: $1.4 billion (6.1%)
  6. Belgium: $1.2 billion (5.2%)
  7. Australia: $852 million (3.7%)
  8. Belarus: $637.6 million (2.8%)
  9. United Kingdom: $569.1 million (2.5%)
  10. Saudi Arabia: $556.3 million (2.4%)
  11. United Arab Emirates: $523 million (2.3%)
  12. Poland: $504.5 million (2.2%)
  13. Hong Kong: $499.1 million (2.2%)
  14. Denmark: $451.2 million (2%)
  15. Austria: $373.5 million (1.6%)

The listed 15 countries shipped over three-quarters (77.3%) of global milk exports in 2016 by value.

Among the above countries, three grew the value of their milk exports since 2012: Hong Kong (up 308.8%), United Arab Emirates (up 69.2%) and Saudi Arabia (up 42.3%).

Those countries that posted declines in their exported milk sales were led by: Denmark (down -28.3%), Belgium (down -24.5%), New Zealand (down -23.5%), Australia (down -23.2%) and France (down -22.8%).


The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for milk during 2016. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported milk and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. New Zealand: US$4.3 billion (net export surplus down -23.5% since 2012)
  2. Germany: $2.2 billion (up 47.7%)
  3. Netherlands: $1.4 billion (up 44.2%)
  4. United States: $1.3 billion (down -4.6%)
  5. France: $1.2 billion (up 19.7%)
  6. Belgium: $845.7 million (up 113.2%)
  7. Australia: $741 million (down -29.4%)
  8. Belarus: $635.2 million (down -15.7%)
  9. Denmark: $430.7 million (down -20.8%)
  10. Uruguay: $370.1 million (up 2.6%)
  11. United Kingdom: $360.1 million (up 81%)
  12. Argentina: $349.7 million (down -56.9%)
  13. Czech Republic: $347.4 million (down -7.5%)
  14. Austria: $288.9 million (down -5.9%)
  15. Poland: $253.4 million (down -22%)

New Zealand has the highest surplus in the international trade of milk. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms New Zealand’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.


The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for milk during 2016. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported milk purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. China: -US$1.5 billion (net export deficit down -25.9% since 2012)
  2. Hong Kong: -$1 billion (down -2.2%)
  3. Algeria: -$826.3 million (down -24.4%)
  4. Mexico: -$534.8 million (down -29.3%)
  5. Russia: -$439.6 million (down -19.8%)
  6. Indonesia: -$435.4 million (down -34.6%)
  7. Philippines: -$346.2 million (down -12%)
  8. Vietnam: -$300.3 million (up 8.8%)
  9. Macao: -$281.7 million (up 968.5%)
  10. Brazil: -$275.6 million (down -12%)
  11. Nigeria: -$233.7 million (down -132.1%)
  12. Sri Lanka: -$229.1 million (down -21.1%)
  13. Bangladesh: -$224.5 million (down -11.4%)
  14. Egypt: -$216.1 million (down -28.6%)
  15. Venezuela: -$215.3 million (down -77%)

China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of milk. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights strong Chinese competitive disadvantages for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for milk-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful consumer demand from the highly populous People’s Republic.


Milk Exporting Companies

Below are global milk-processing companies that represent established players engaged in the international milk trade. Many of these business entities are cooperatives. The home country for each company is shown within parenthesis.

  • Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (New Zealand)
  • Zott (Germany)
  • FrieslandCampina (Netherlands)
  • Lactalis (France)
  • Borden Milk Products (United States)
  • Canberra Milk (Australia)
  • First Milk (United Kingdom)
  • Almarai (Saudi Arabia)
  • Arla Foods (Denmark)
  • La Serenísima (Argentina)


Searchable List of Milk Exporting Countries

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the columns.

RankExporter2016 Milk Exports% World Total
1.New ZealandUS$4.4 billion18.9%
2.Germany$2.6 billion11%
3.Netherlands$1.9 billion8.1%
4.France$1.5 billion6.5%
5.United States$1.4 billion6.1%
6.Belgium$1.2 billion5.2%
7.Australia$852 million3.7%
8.Belarus$637.6 million2.8%
9.United Kingdom$569.1 million2.5%
10.Saudi Arabia$556.3 million2.4%
11.United Arab Emirates$523 million2.3%
12.Poland$504.5 million2.2%
13.Hong Kong$499.1 million2.2%
14.Denmark$451.2 million2%
15.Austria$373.5 million1.6%
16.Uruguay$372.6 million1.6%
17.Czech Republic$364.4 million1.6%
18.Argentina$352.5 million1.5%
19.Spain$320.7 million1.4%
20.Ireland$312.4 million1.4%
21.Malaysia$224.7 million1%
22.Sweden$196.7 million0.9%
23.Oman$178.9 million0.8%
24.Lithuania$166.9 million0.7%
25.Brazil$141.7 million0.6%
26.Singapore$136.6 million0.6%
27.Portugal$132.3 million0.6%
28.Luxembourg$118.6 million0.5%
29.Hungary$116.1 million0.5%
30.Kuwait$115.5 million0.5%
31.Italy$113.2 million0.5%
32.Slovenia$113.1 million0.5%
33.Finland$105.2 million0.5%
34.Turkey$104.9 million0.5%
35.Peru$101 million0.4%
36.South Africa$97 million0.4%
37.Slovakia$96.8 million0.4%
38.Latvia$89.3 million0.4%
39.Costa Rica$85.6 million0.4%
40.Philippines$84.4 million0.4%
41.Mexico$82.5 million0.4%
42.Thailand$78.3 million0.3%
43.Chile$63.2 million0.3%
44.India$60.1 million0.3%
45.Estonia$58.6 million0.3%
46.Russian Federation$57.7 million0.2%
47.Canada$50.3 million0.2%
48.Switzerland$50.2 million0.2%
49.Ukraine$47.2 million0.2%
50.China$41.4 million0.2%
51.Romania$36.8 million0.2%
52.Nicaragua$34.3 million0.1%
53.Bolivia$28.7 million0.1%
54.Bosnia/Herzegovina$25.6 million0.1%
55.Egypt$25 million0.1%
56.South Korea$24.5 million0.1%
57.Indonesia$23.9 million0.1%
58.Togo$17.3 million0.1%
59.Japan$12.6 million0.1%
60.Greece$12 million0.1%
61.Croatia$10.8 million0.05%
62.Serbia$10.6 million0.05%
63.Viet Nam$10.2 million0.04%
64.Jordan$9.8 million0.04%
65.Bulgaria$9.4 million0.04%
66.Panama$8 million0.03%
67.Gambia$8 million0.03%
68.Honduras$7.6 million0.03%
69.Senegal$7.4 million0.03%
70.Kazakhstan$6.3 million0.03%
71.Kyrgyzstan$6.2 million0.03%
72.Ghana$5.5 million0.02%
73.Cameroon$4.5 million0.02%
74.Norway$3.8 million0.02%
75.Paraguay$3.8 million0.02%
76.Macao$3.4 million0.01%
77.Morocco$3.3 million0.01%
78.Yemen$3.2 million0.01%
79.Macedonia$3 million0.01%
80.Iran$2.8 million0.01%
81.Cyprus$2.8 million0.01%
82.Bahrain$2.8 million0.01%
83.Rwanda$2.7 million0.01%
84.Moldova$2.6 million0.01%
85.Trinidad/Tobago$2.4 million0.01%
86.Pakistan$2.4 million0.01%
87.Mauritius$2.3 million0.01%
88.Iceland$2.3 million0.01%
89.Sri Lanka$1.8 million0.01%
90.Uganda$1.8 million0.01%
91.Taiwan$1.8 million0.01%
92.Ecuador$1.7 million0.01%
93.El Salvador$1.4 million0.01%
94.Namibia$1.3 million0.01%
95.Lebanon$1.3 million0.01%
96.Brunei Darussalam$1.3 million0.01%
97.Guatemala$1.3 million0.01%
98.Niger$1.3 million0.01%
107.Dominican Republic$277,0000.001%
111.Côte d'Ivoire$210,0000.001%
112.Netherlands Antilles$195,0000.001%
126.Papua New Guinea$43,0000.0002%
128.Northern Mariana Is$32,0000.0001%
131.Cabo Verde$19,0000.0001%
134.St. Pierre/Miquelon$9,0000.00004%
135.Saint Lucia$7,0000.00003%
137.Democratic Rep. Congo$4,0000.00002%
139.Myanmar (Burma)$1,0000.000004%
141.Burkina Faso$1,0000.000004%

See also Top Yogurt Exporters, Cheese Exports by Country and Butter Exports by Country

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 22, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 22, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 22, 2017

Wikipedia, Category:Dairy products companies by country. Accessed on June 22, 2017