World’s Top Imports: Products and Countries

Top 20 import products and countries

World’s top 20 imports

The world’s top imports by product and leading buyer countries reveal the commodities most in demand on international market and the location for the most lucrative opportunities for selling to foreign purchasers.

To peruse those two key lists, please read on.

Note that the product categories used in this analysis are at the four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level in tariff manuals. This level of granularity gives a fairly detailed snapshot of the most valuable products, enabling entrepreneurs to more clearly focus on global sales opportunities for specific goods.

World’s Top Import Products

Below are the 20 products that generated the highest dollar value in import purchases during 2017. Overall, worldwide import purchases totaled US$17.718 trillion in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 9.6% year-over-year gain but a -6.6% dip since 2013.

  1. Crude oil: $874.5 billion (Up 28.1% from 2016 to 2017)
  2. Cars: $753.1 billion (Up 6.5%)
  3. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $742.7 billion (Up 14.7%)
  4. Phone system devices: $605.7 billion (Up 7.3%)
  5. Processed petroleum oils: $602.4 billion (Up 26.6%)
  6. Automobile parts/accessories: $385.7 billion (Up 7.4%)
  7. Medication mixes in dosage: $356.2 billion (Down -0.5%)
  8. Computers, optical readers: $351.7 billion (Up 9.1%)
  9. Petroleum gases: $279.9 billion (Up 26.4%)
  10. Gold (unwrought): $269.3 billion (Down -25.3%)
  11. Blood fractions (including antisera): $161.8 billion (Up 18.7%)
  12. Turbo-jets: $153.5 billion (Up 14.9%)
  13. Aircraft, spacecraft: $150.4 billion (Down -1.1%)
  14. Trucks: $136.1 billion (Up 10.1%)
  15. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $131 billion (Up 51.4%)
  16. Computer parts, accessories: $121.1 billion (Up 20.9%)
  17. Insulated wire/cable: $118.6 billion (Up 8.3%)
  18. Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $117.3 billion (Down -1.7%)
  19. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays): $116.3 billion (Up 4.6%)
  20. Iron ores, concentrates: $115.5 billion (Up 34.4%)

The above 20 products accounted for approximately three-quarters (74.5%) of all imported goods shipped in 2017.

Among the world’s top imports, the fastest-growing products from 2016 to 2017 were coal and related solid fuels (up 51.4%), iron ores and concentrates (up 34.4%), crude oil (up 28.1%), refined petroleum oils (up 26.6%) and petroleum gases (up 26.4%).

Leading the decliners was unprocessed gold (down -25.3%) then unmounted and unset diamonds (down -1.7%).


World’s Top Import Countries

Below are the 20 countries that spent the most on imported goods during 2017.

  1. United States: US$2.409 trillion (Up 5.9% from 2016 to 2017)
  2. China: $1.841 trillion (Up 15.9%)
  3. Germany: $1.174 trillion (Up 10.6%)
  4. Japan: $671.9 billion (Up 10.7%)
  5. United Kingdom: $640.4 billion (Up 0.6%)
  6. France: $611.7 billion (Up 9.1%)
  7. Hong Kong: $589.8 billion (Up 7.8%)
  8. Netherlands: $574.1 billion (Up 13.7%)
  9. South Korea: $478.4 billion (Up 17.8%)
  10. Italy: $451.4 billion (Up 11.6%)
  11. Canada: $432.3 billion (Up 7.3%)
  12. Mexico: $420.4 billion (Up 8.6%)
  13. Belgium: $406.4 billion (Up 9.0%)
  14. Spain: $350.9 billion (Up 16.0%)
  15. India: $337.4 billion (Down -5.4%)
  16. Singapore: $327.7 billion (Up 15.8%)
  17. Switzerland: $267.5 billion (Down -0.6%)
  18. Taiwan: $259.6 billion (Up 12.4%)
  19. Turkey: $233.8 billion (Up 17.7%)
  20. Vietnam: $233.4 billion (Up 33.4%)

The above countries represent 71.7% of the total value for all imported products during 2017.

Among these top global purchasers, the fastest-growing buyers from 2016 to 2017 were: Vietnam (up 33.4%), South Korea (up 17.8%), Turkey (up 17.7%), Spain (up 16%), China (up 15.9%) and Singapore (up 15.8%).

Only two top 20 purchasers reduced their imports year over year, namely India via its -5.4% cutback and Switzerland with a modest -0.06% slowdown.

See also America’s Top Trading Partners, China’s Top Trading Partners and Germany’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 12, 2018