Top Milk Exporting Countries

Pouring a glass of milk

Milk exports worth billions

Milk exports by country totaled US$26.9 billion in 2018, declining in value by -26% for all milk shippers over the five-year period starting in 2014 when international milk sales equaled $36.3 billion.

Year over year, the global value of exported milk in 2018 dipped by -4.9% from 2017 to 2018.

From a continent perspective, Europe generated well over half (55.7%) of worldwide milk exports. Led by New Zealand, countries in the continent of Oceania placed second at 23.9%.

Asia was responsible for 7.3% of globally exported milk on par with North American milk exporters also at 7.3%. Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean came in at 4.8%, trailed by Africa at 1%.

There are two major product classifications used for the international trade of milk. The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) 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.

Unsweetened milk exports under HTS prefix 0401 amounted to $9.1 billion (34% of the global total) while sweetened milk items under code 0402 came to $17.7 billion (66%).

Milk Exports by Country


Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of milk during 2018, encompassing both unsweetened and unsweetened varieties of product:

  1. New Zealand: US$5.5 billion (20.5% of total milk exports)
  2. Germany: $2.8 billion (10.4%)
  3. Netherlands: $2.5 billion (9.2%)
  4. Belgium: $1.7 billion (6.4%)
  5. United States: $1.6 billion (6%)
  6. France: $1.5 billion (5.7%)
  7. Hong Kong: $1 billion (3.8%)
  8. Australia: $907.4 million (3.4%)
  9. United Kingdom: $788.1 million (2.9%)
  10. Poland: $783.6 million (2.9%)
  11. Belarus: $576.6 million (2.1%)
  12. Ireland: $570.3 million (2.1%)
  13. Czech Republic: $495.1 million (1.8%)
  14. Uruguay: $471.6 million (1.8%)
  15. Argentina: $454.1 million (1.7%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped four-fifths (80.8%) of global milk exported in 2018.

Among the above milk suppliers, three countries grew the value of their milk exports since 2014: Hong Kong (up 243.9%), Ireland (up 34.1%) and Uruguay (up 14.3%).

Top sources that registered declines in their exported milk sales were led by: Argentina (down -43.8%), Belarus (down -39.1%), France (down -35.8%) and the United States (down -34.3%).


The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for milk during 2018. 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$5.5 billion (net export surplus down -30% since 2014)
  2. United States: $1.5 billion (down -36.4%)
  3. Netherlands: $1.2 billion (down -21%)
  4. Australia: $727.1 million (down -38.5%)
  5. France: $629.2 million (down -51.6%)
  6. Belarus: $571.6 million (down -35.3%)
  7. Uruguay: $469.3 million (up 14.5%)
  8. Argentina: $453.5 million (down -43.7%)
  9. Czech Republic: $437.1 million (down -5.5%)
  10. Poland: $413.3 million (down -20.9%)
  11. United Kingdom: $323.8 million (down -2%)
  12. Denmark: $320.1 million (down -31.1%)
  13. Austria: $222.6 million (down -34.4%)
  14. Spain: $138.1 million (reversing a -$37 million deficit)
  15. Luxembourg: $120.9 million (up 27%)

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 2018. 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$3.4 billion (net export deficit down -30.3% since 2014)
  2. Algeria: -$1.1 billion (down -38.5%)
  3. Italy: -$1 billion (down -37.2%)
  4. Hong Kong: -$618.9 million (down -56.9%)
  5. Mexico: -$524.9 million (down -37.9%)
  6. Indonesia: -$502.9 million (down -40.2%)
  7. Philippines: -$481 million (down -8.3%)
  8. United Arab Emirates: -$473.2 million (down -36.1%)
  9. Russia: -$439.9 million (down -49.5%)
  10. Vietnam: -$375 million (down -17.1%)
  11. Bangladesh: -$347.2 million (no 2014 data)
  12. Singapore: -$337.7 million (down -30.3%)
  13. Saudi Arabia: -$304.7 million (down -62.4%)
  14. Taipei, Chinese: -$287.8 million (down -9.4%)
  15. Sri Lanka: -$287.6 million (down -11.3%)

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 of China.


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.

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


Searchable List of Milk Exporting Countries

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

RankExporterMilk Exports (U$)%World Total
1.New Zealand$5.5 billion20.5%
2.Germany$2.8 billion10.4%
3.Netherlands$2.5 billion9.2%
4.Belgium$1.7 billion6.4%
5.United States$1.6 billion6%
6.France$1.5 billion5.7%
7.Hong Kong$1 billion3.8%
8.Australia$907.4 million3.4%
9.United Kingdom$788.1 million2.9%
10.Poland$783.6 million2.9%
11.Belarus$576.6 million2.1%
12.Ireland$570.3 million2.1%
13.Czech Republic$495.1 million1.8%
14.Uruguay$471.6 million1.8%
15.Argentina$454.1 million1.7%
16.Denmark$450 million1.7%
17.Spain$433.9 million1.6%
18.Austria$414.9 million1.5%
19.Lithuania$284.1 million1.1%
20.Malaysia$243.7 million0.9%
21.Mexico$229.5 million0.9%
22.Sweden$179 million0.7%
23.Luxembourg$159.1 million0.6%
24.Italy$147.9 million0.6%
25.Slovenia$142.2 million0.5%
26.Hungary$141.5 million0.5%
27.Latvia$131 million0.5%
28.Singapore$129.3 million0.5%
29.Canada$122.4 million0.5%
30.Portugal$121.2 million0.5%
31.South Africa$119 million0.4%
32.Peru$116.7 million0.4%
33.Finland$107.2 million0.4%
34.Slovakia$104.3 million0.4%
35.India$98.8 million0.4%
36.Estonia$95.8 million0.4%
37.Thailand$88.3 million0.3%
38.Costa Rica$79.8 million0.3%
39.Turkey$78.9 million0.3%
40.Ukraine$74.1 million0.3%
41.Uganda$69.6 million0.3%
42.Chile$67.8 million0.3%
43.Romania$52.9 million0.2%
44.Russia$48.2 million0.2%
45.United Arab Emirates$47.3 million0.2%
46.Egypt$40.9 million0.2%
47.China$39.5 million0.1%
48.Switzerland$37.5 million0.1%
49.Saudi Arabia$35.3 million0.1%
50.Bosnia/Herzegovina$35.3 million0.1%
51.Brazil$33.3 million0.1%
52.Philippines$26.6 million0.1%
53.Pakistan$25.1 million0.1%
54.South Korea$24.7 million0.1%
55.Greece$23.7 million0.1%
56.Indonesia$22.5 million0.1%
57.Vietnam$17.3 million0.1%
58.Croatia$16.8 million0.1%
59.Japan$13.9 million0.1%
60.Nicaragua$13.8 million0.1%
61.Bolivia$13.3 million0.05%
62.Kazakhstan$13 million0.05%
63.Bulgaria$12 million0.04%
64.Kyrgyzstan$11.7 million0.04%
65.Colombia$11.6 million0.04%
66.Paraguay$9.8 million0.04%
67.Ghana$8.5 million0.03%
68.Macao$7.2 million0.03%
69.Nigeria$7 million0.03%
70.Norway$5.4 million0.02%
71.Ivory Coast$4.3 million0.02%
72.North Macedonia$4.2 million0.02%
73.Panama$3.9 million0.01%
74.Fiji$3.5 million0.01%
75.Moldova$3.3 million0.01%
76.Morocco$3.3 million0.01%
77.Cyprus$3.2 million0.01%
78.Honduras$2.9 million0.01%
79.Jordan$2.7 million0.01%
80.Togo$2.6 million0.01%
81.Iran$2.5 million0.01%
82.Kuwait$2.2 million0.01%
83.Israel$2.1 million0.01%
84.Zambia$2 million0.01%
85.Serbia$1.9 million0.01%
86.Trinidad/Tobago$1.6 million0.01%
87.Taiwan$1.4 million0.01%
88.El Salvador$1.2 million0.005%
89.Lebanon$1.1 million0.004%
90.Mauritius$1 million0.004%
107.Burkina Faso$81,0000.0003%
111.Solomon Islands$50,0000.0002%
112.US Minor Outlying Is$42,0000.0002%
116.Sri Lanka$20,0000.0001%
127.Dominican Republic$2,0000.00001%

See also Top Milk Imports by Country, New Zealand’s Top 10 Exports and Germany’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 2, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 2, 2019

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 2, 2019

Wikipedia, Category:Dairy products companies by country. Accessed on May 2, 2019

Wikipedia, Dairy. Accessed on May 2, 2019