That dollar amount reflects a 51.2% increase from $69.8 million worth of exports five years earlier during 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of Aruban exports accelerated by 19.4% compared to $88.3 million for 2021.
Aruba’s 5 most valuable exports are cigarettes and cigars, alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs, jewelry, iron or steel scrap, then non-alcoholic drinks excluding water, juice or milk. Collectively, this quintet of lucrative exported products generated over three-quarters (75.5%) of Aruba’s overall international sales in 2022.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 100% of products exported from Aruba were bought by importers in: Colombia (52.3% of the Aruban total), United States of America (19.7%), Netherlands (9.3%), Curaçao (6.5%), Panama (2.9%), Suriname (2.8%), Venezuela (2.6%), United Arab Emirates (2.1%) and Uruguay (1.9%).
Given Aruba’s population of some 109,00 people, its total $105.5 million in 2022 exports translates to about $950 for every resident on the tourism-driven Caribbean island. That dollar metric exceeds the average $800 per capita one year earlier in 2021.
Aruba’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Aruban global shipments during 2022 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$51.1 million (48.4% of total exports)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $17.8 million (16.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $7.2 million (6.8%)
- Iron, steel: $4.2 million (4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $3.5 million (3.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.6 million (2.5%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $2.4 million (2.2%)
- Aluminum: $1.9 million (1.8%)
- Clocks, watches including parts: $1.4 million (1.4%)
- Machinery including computers: $1.3 million (1.2%)
Aruba’s top 10 exports accounted for 88.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 236.4% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales were the metals iron and steel, via a 133.8% advance.
Aruba’s shipments of optical, technical and medical apparatus posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 88.9%.
The leading decliner among Aruba’s top 10 export categories was machinery including computers, incurring a -31.3% year-over-year drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, cigarettes and cigars were Aruba’s highest-value exported product at 48.4% of the island’s total. In second place were alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs (15%) trailed by jewelry (6.3%), iron or steel scrap (4%), non-alcoholic drinks excluding water, juice or milk (1.7%), aluminum waste or scrap (1.6%), lower-voltage switches or fuses (1.4%), nickel waste or scrap (1.2%), wrist or pocket watches with no precious metal cases (also 1.2%), then electro-medical equipment including x-rays (1.1%).
Products Generating Aruba’s Best Trade Surpluses
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$601,000 (Up by 149.4% since 2021)
- Woodpulp: $167,000 (Up by 1092.9%)
Historically, Aruba has posted positive net exports in the international trade of nickel. This positive cashflow indicate Aruba’s competitive advantages under that metal category.
Products Causing Aruba’s Worst Trade Deficits
Aruba incurred an overall -US$1.37 billion trade deficit for 2022, expanding by 26.6% from -$1.08 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$99.1 million (Up by 63.6% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$99 million (Up by 41.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$81.9 million (Up by 19.3%)
- Vehicles: -$77.5 million (Up by 52.9%)
- Meat: -$65.3 million (Up by 23.1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$57.5 million (Up by 19.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$57 million (Up by 27.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$43.4 million (Up by 69.5%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$40.7 million (Up by 24.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$35.5 million (Up by 18.1%)
Aruba has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil plus the machinery including computers product 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 2022 ($5.17 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 2.2% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing 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 unemployment rate averaged 7.842% in 2022 down from an average 8.8% for 2021, 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 September 16, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 16, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 16, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 16, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 16, 2023
United Nations, World Statistics Pocketbook: Aruba. Accessed on September 16, 2023
Wikipedia, Aruba. Accessed on September 16, 2023
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Aruba by industry. Accessed on September 16, 2023
Wikipedia, Flag of Aruba. Accessed on September 16, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 16, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 16, 2023