That dollar amount reflects a flatlining -0.8% decrease from $89.1 million worth of exports during 2020.
Year over year, the overall value of Aruban exports rose 34% compared to $65.9 million for 2020.
Aruba’s 5 most valuable exports are cigarettes and cigars, alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs, jewelry, iron or steel scrap, and wrist or pocket watches with no precious metal case. Collectively, this quintet of lucrative exported products generated almost three-quarters (73.2%) of Aruba’s overall international sales in 2021.
The latest available country-specific data shows that most products exported from Aruba were bought by importers in: Colombia (49.4% of Aruba’s global total), United States of America (23%), Curaçao (9.6%), Netherlands (5.5%), Panama (2.1%), Taiwan (2%), Venezuela (1.4%), Uruguay (1.1%), then Suriname (0.8%).
Given Aruba’s population of some 111,00 people, its total $88.3 million in 2021 exports translates to almost $800 for every resident on the tourism-driven Caribbean island. That dollar metric exceeds the average $600 per capita one year earlier in 2020.
Aruba’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Aruban global shipments during 2021 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$43.5 million (49.3% of total exports)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $12.7 million (14.4%)
- Gems, precious metals: $6.5 million (7.4%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $3 million (3.4%)
- Machinery including computers: $1.9 million (2.2%)
- Clocks, watches including parts: $1.8 million (2.1%)
- Iron, steel: $1.8 million (2.1%)
- Vehicles: $1.5 million (1.6%)
- Soaps, washing preparations, lubricants, waxes: $1.44 million (1.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.37 million (1.6%)
Aruba’s top 10 exports accounted for 85.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Tobacco including manufactured substitutes was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 119.8% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales were vehicles via a 49.4% advance.
Aruba’s shipments of soaps, washing preparations, lubricants, and waxes posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 35.7%.
The leading decliner among Aruba’s top 10 export categories were clocks, watches including parts, thanks to a -34.2% year-over-year reduction.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, cigarettes and cigars were Aruba’s highest-value exported product at 49.3% of the island’s total. In second place were alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs (13.3%) trailed by jewelry (6.9%), iron or steel scrap (2%), wrist or pocket watches with no precious metal cases (1.6%), bars of organic surface-active products including soap (also 1.6%), trunks, suitcases and briefcases (1.3%), beauty, makeup or skincare preparations (also 1.3%), nickel waste or scrap (also 3.2%), then miscellaneous machinery (0.9%).
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$241,000 (Down by -73.8% since 2020)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $156,000 (Reversing a -$106,000 deficit)
- Lead: $59,000 (Reversing a -$38,000 deficit)
- Woodpulp: $14,000 (Reversing a -$3,000 deficit)
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 -$1.08 billion trade deficit for 2021, expanding by 23.8% from -$873.4 million in red ink one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$69.9 million (Down by -9.7% since 2020)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$68.6 million (Down by -13%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$60.6 million (Up by 33%)
- Meat: -$53.1 million (Up by 47.4%)
- Vehicles: -$50.7 million (Up by 33.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$48.3 million (Up by 67.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$44.8 million (Up by 36.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$40.4 million (Up by 14.7%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$32.7 million (Up by 18.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$30 million (Up by 8.7%)
Aruba has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the 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 2.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($4.05 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 2% for 2020. 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 unemployment rate averaged 12.077% in 2021 down from an average 14% for 2020, 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 6, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 6, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 6, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 6, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 6, 2022
United Nations, World Statistics Pocketbook: Aruba. Accessed on September 6, 2022
Wikipedia, Aruba. Accessed on September 6, 2022
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Aruba by industry. Accessed on September 6, 2022
Wikipedia, Flag of Aruba. Accessed on September 6, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 6, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 6, 2022