That dollar amount reflects a -21.2% decrease from 2019 to 2020 and a -30.9% drop since 2016.
Aruba’s most valuable exports are cigars, cigarillos and cigarettes; alcohol including spirits and liqueurs; jewelry; wrist or pocket watches with no precious metal case; and beauty, makeup or skin care preparations. Collectively, these 5 biggest exported product categories generated 64.5% of Aruba’s overall international sales during 2020.
The latest available country-specific data prorated for 2018 shows that 100% of products exported from Aruba were bought by importers in: Venezuela (31.5% of its global total), United States (31%), Netherlands (20.1%), Curaçao (12.2%), Colombia (5.1%), Panama (0.1%) and Spain (0.01%).
Given Aruba’s population of some 113,00 people, its total $65.9 million in 2020 exports translates to almost $600 for every resident on the tourism-driven Caribbean island.
Aruba’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Aruban global shipments during 2020 presented at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Aruba.
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: US$19.8 million (30% of total exports)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $12.7 million (19.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $7.3 million (11.1%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $3.8 million (5.7%)
- Clocks , watches including parts: $2.8 million (4.2%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.8 million (2.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $1.7 million (2.6%)
- Iron, steel: $1.4 million (2.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.3 million (2%)
- Soaps, washing preparations, lubricants, waxes: $1.1 million (1.6%)
Aruba’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (81.4%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Clocks or watches including parts represent the leading grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 49.1% from 2019 to 2020.
The only other top product category growth was for exported soaps, washing preparations, lubricants and waxes via a 38.7% gain.
The leading decliner among Aruba’s top 10 export categories was electrical machinery and equipment, thanks to a -50.7% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, cigars, cigarillos and cigarettes were Aruba’s highest-value exported product at 30% of the island’s total. In second place were alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs (17.7%) trailed by jewelry (9.9%), wrist or pocket watches with no precious metal cases (3.6%), beauty, makeup or skincare preparations (3.2%), nickel waste or scrap (also 3.2%), iron or steel scrap (2%), bars of organic surface-active products including soap (1.6%), and non-alcoholic drinks excluding water, juices and milk (1.3%).
The following types of Aruban 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 represent 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.
- Nickel: US$921,000 (Down by -27% since 2019)
Aruba has positive net exports in the international trade of just one product category in 2020, nickel. This positive cashflow indicate Aruba’s competitive advantages under that metal category.
Aruba incurred an overall -$873.4 million trade deficit for 2020, down -29.4% from -$1.24 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Aruba that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Aruba’s goods trail Aruban importer spending on foreign products.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$78.9 million (Down by -33.4% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$77.4 million (Down by -15.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$45.5 million (Down by -33.9%)
- Vehicles: -$37.9 million (Down by -51.4%)
- Meat: -$36 million (Down by -30.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$35.3 million (Up by 0.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$32.8 million (Down by -40.2%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$28.8 million (Down by -44.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$27.6 million (Down by -20.9%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$27.6 million (Down by -17.8%)
Aruba has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under electrical machinery and equipment plus the machinery including computers categories.
Aruban Export Companies
Not one Aruban corporations rank among the Forbes Global 2000 listing.
Wikipedia also lists exports-related companies from Aruba, as does the e-commerce website Alibaba. Selected examples are shown below.
- Aruba Airlines (airliner)
- Caribbean Paint Factory (paint, coatings)
- Go! Trading (alcoholic drinks)
- Govaard Trading Company (auto parts)
- Mag Development Freezone (heavy equipment)
- N.V. Elmar (electricity)
In macroeconomic terms, Aruba’s total exported goods represent 2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($3.274 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 1.9% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Aruba’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Aruba’s average unemployment rate was 13.997% in 2020 up from 5.1% for 2019, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.
Aruba’s capital city is Oranjestad.
See also Cuba’s Top 10 Exports, Jamaica’s Top 10 Exports and Colombia’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, Central America and Caribbean: Aruba. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 3, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 3, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 3, 2021
United Nations, World Statistics Pocketbook: Aruba. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Aruba. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Aruba by industry. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Flag of Aruba. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 3, 2021