Top Milk Exporting Countries

Pouring a glass of milk

Milk exports worth billions

Milk exports by country totaled US$27.5 billion in 2017, down in value by -19.3% for all milk shippers over the five-year period starting in 2013 when international milk sales equaled $34.1 billion.

Year over year, the global value of milk exports in 2017 accelerated by 17.2% from 2016 to 2017.

From a continent perspective, Europe generated well over half (54.8%) of worldwide milk exports. Led by New Zealand, countries in the continent of Oceania placed second at 23.7%.

Asia was responsible for 10.1% of worldwide exported milk, followed by North American milk exporters at 6.5% then Latin America (excluding Mexico) coming in at 4%. Less than one percent (0.9%) of total milk exports originate from Africa.

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 billion (32.7% of the global total) while sweetened milk items under code 0402 came to $18.5 billion (67.3%).

Milk Exports by Country


Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of milk during 2017, encompassing both unsweetened and unsweetened varieties of product:

  1. New Zealand: US$5.6 billion (20.4% of total milk exports)
  2. Germany: $3 billion (10.8%)
  3. Netherlands: $2.5 billion (9.2%)
  4. France: $1.6 billion (5.9%)
  5. Belgium: $1.6 billion (5.9%)
  6. United States of America: $1.5 billion (5.4%)
  7. Australia: $913 million (3.3%)
  8. Hong Kong, China: $773.8 million (2.8%)
  9. United Kingdom: $742.3 million (2.7%)
  10. Poland: $685.5 million (2.5%)
  11. Belarus: $631.5 million (2.3%)
  12. Ireland: $497.7 million (1.8%)
  13. Saudi Arabia: $495.5 million (1.8%)
  14. Denmark: $493.4 million (1.8%)
  15. Czech Republic: $460.6 million (1.7%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped more than three-quarters (78.4%) of global milk exports in 2017.

Among the above milk suppliers, five countries grew the value of their milk exports since 2013: Hong Kong (up 260.9%), Saudi Arabia (up 16.8%), Ireland (up 14.5%), Netherlands (up 7.5%) and Poland (up 5.2%).

Top sources that posted declines in their exported milk sales were led by: Belarus (down -41.6%), United States (down -37%), Denmark (down -24.6%), New Zealand (down -23.4%) and France (down -21%).


The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for milk during 2017. 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$5.6 billion (net export surplus down -23.4% since 2013)
  2. Netherlands: $1.4 billion (up 14.4%)
  3. United States: $1.4 billion (down -39.6%)
  4. Germany: $976.7 million (down -48.9%)
  5. Australia: $763.9 million (down -26.3%)
  6. France: $721.9 million (down -25.3%)
  7. Belarus: $623.5 million (down -41.8%)
  8. Denmark: $395.8 million (down -26.4%)
  9. Czech Republic: $389.8 million (down -9.9%)
  10. Uruguay: $385.4 million (down -19.4%)
  11. Poland: $343.5 million (up 12.4%)
  12. United Kingdom: $309.3 million (up 37.2%)
  13. Argentina: $278.9 million (down -70.7%)
  14. Austria: $230 million (reversing a -$48.7 million surplus in 2013)
  15. Belgium: $181.3 million (down -60.4%)

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 2017. 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$3.1 billion (net export deficit down -19.3% since 2013)
  2. Algeria: -$1.2 billion (up 15.1%)
  3. Italy: -$1 billion (down -43.4%)
  4. Russia: -$678.4 million (down -30.8%)
  5. Hong Kong: -$657 million (down -45.2%)
  6. Mexico: -$599.4 million (down -25.2%)
  7. Indonesia: -$470.7 million (down -41.9%)
  8. Philippines: -$462.8 million (down -13.2%)
  9. United Arab Emirates: -$414.1 million (down -25.4%)
  10. Nigeria: -$392.5 million (up 136%)
  11. Vietnam: -$371.6 million (up 16.7%)
  12. Bangladesh: -$317.8 million (up 47.6%)
  13. Macao: -$297.9 million (up 2,302%)
  14. Sri Lanka: -$293.7 million (up 6.2%)
  15. Saudi Arabia: -$289.1 million (down -44.6%)

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.

  • 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.

RankExporter2017 Milk Exports% World Total
1.New ZealandUS$5.6 billion20.4%
2.Germany$3 billion10.8%
3.Netherlands$2.5 billion9.2%
4.France$1.6 billion5.9%
5.Belgium$1.6 billion5.9%
6.United States$1.5 billion5.4%
7.Australia$913 million3.3%
8.Hong Kong$773.8 million2.8%
9.United Kingdom$742.3 million2.7%
10.Poland$685.5 million2.5%
11.Belarus$631.5 million2.3%
12.Ireland$497.7 million1.8%
13.Saudi Arabia$495.5 million1.8%
14.Denmark$493.4 million1.8%
15.Czech Republic$460.6 million1.7%
16.United Arab Emirates$428.3 million1.6%
17.Spain$423.6 million1.5%
18.Austria$391.3 million1.4%
19.Uruguay$388.6 million1.4%
20.Argentina$283.6 million1%
21.Lithuania$257.7 million0.9%
22.Malaysia$243.3 million0.9%
23.Sweden$213.2 million0.8%
24.Oman$189.5 million0.7%
25.Singapore$176.6 million0.6%
26.Mexico$167.6 million0.6%
27.Hungary$156.4 million0.6%
28.Luxembourg$147.6 million0.5%
29.Latvia$147.1 million0.5%
30.Canada$144.1 million0.5%
31.Italy$141.4 million0.5%
32.Slovenia$134.6 million0.5%
33.Portugal$134.3 million0.5%
34.South Africa$129.9 million0.5%
35.Finland$119.4 million0.4%
36.Slovakia$112.8 million0.4%
37.Peru$102.8 million0.4%
38.Turkey$95.2 million0.3%
39.Estonia$94.2 million0.3%
40.Ukraine$90.3 million0.3%
41.Brazil$80.8 million0.3%
42.Thailand$80.5 million0.3%
43.Costa Rica$76.3 million0.3%
44.Uganda$75.6 million0.3%
45.Chile$64.3 million0.2%
46.Russia$58.9 million0.2%
47.Romania$42 million0.2%
48.Kuwait$40.9 million0.1%
49.Switzerland$40.6 million0.1%
50.China$34.9 million0.1%
51.Pakistan$34.6 million0.1%
52.India$33.9 million0.1%
53.Nicaragua$31.4 million0.1%
54.Bosnia/Herzegovina$29 million0.1%
55.Egypt$28 million0.1%
56.South Korea$21.6 million0.1%
57.Bolivia$20.8 million0.1%
58.Indonesia$17.9 million0.1%
59.Philippines$15.6 million0.1%
60.Colombia$15 million0.1%
61.Greece$14.6 million0.1%
62.Japan$13.6 million0.05%
63.Vietnam$13.3 million0.05%
64.Croatia$12.9 million0.05%
65.Iran$11.9 million0.04%
66.Bulgaria$10.6 million0.04%
67.Kazakhstan$10.5 million0.04%
68.Honduras$9.2 million0.03%
69.Kyrgyzstan$8.2 million0.03%
70.Serbia$8.1 million0.03%
71.Yemen$6.9 million0.03%
72.Panama$5.1 million0.02%
73.Norway$4.9 million0.02%
74.Macao$4.8 million0.02%
75.Jordan$4.4 million0.02%
76.Macedonia$4.3 million0.02%
77.Nigeria$4.1 million0.01%
78.Bahrain$3.6 million0.01%
79.Moldova$3.6 million0.01%
80.El Salvador$2.9 million0.01%
81.Armenia$2.7 million0.01%
82.Paraguay$2.5 million0.01%
83.Malta$2.5 million0.01%
84.Sri Lanka$2.2 million0.01%
85.Ecuador$2.2 million0.01%
86.Georgia$2.2 million0.01%
87.Kenya$1.7 million0.01%
88.Morocco$1.6 million0.01%
89.Zambia$1.5 million0.01%
90.Taiwan$1.4 million0.01%
91.Haiti$1.3 million0.005%
92.Lebanon$1.3 million0.005%
93.Trinidad/Tobago$1.1 million0.004%
94.Dominican Republic$1.1 million0.004%
113.Burkina Faso$111,0000.0004%
119.US Minor Outlying Is$74,0000.0003%
126.St. Pierre/Miquelon$25,0000.0001%
136.Brunei Darussalam$3,0000.00001%
138.Côte d'Ivoire$2,0000.00001%
139.Cabo Verde$1,0000.000004%
140.Central African Rep$1,0000.000004%

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

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 23, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 23, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 23, 2018

Wikipedia, Category:Dairy products companies by country. Accessed on May 23, 2018