Denmark exported US$108.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 14.3% increase since 2016 but a -1.6% drop from 2019 to 2020.
Applying a continental lens, 75.1% of Denmark’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 14.3% were sold to importers in Asia. Denmark shipped another 6.7% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.32%), Africa (1.28%) then Oceania led by Australia (1.24%).
Denmark’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Denmark’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Danish shipments by dollar value during 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Danish exports.
- Germany: US$16.9 billion (15.6% of Denmark’s total exports)
- Sweden: $11.3 billion (10.5%)
- Netherlands: $7.6 billion (7.1%)
- Norway: $7.1 billion (6.6%)
- United Kingdom: $6.1 billion (5.7%)
- United States: $5.9 billion (5.5%)
- China: $5.3 billion (4.9%)
- Poland: $4.5 billion (4.2%)
- France: $4 billion (3.7%)
- Italy: $2.6 billion (2.4%)
- Finland: $2.3 billion (2.1%)
- Belgium: $2.1 billion (1.9%)
- Spain: $2 billion (1.9%)
- Japan: $1.6 billion (1.5%)
- Switzerland: $1.1 billion (1%)
About three-quarters (74.4%) of Danish exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
China led all top importers by increasing its purchases from Denmark by 20.5% from 2018 to 2019. The second-fastest growing importer from Denmark was Turkey (up 17.2%) trailed by Netherlands (up 14.7%), Poland (up 12.2%) then Belgium (up 10.3%).
Leading the decliners year over year were the United Kingdom (down -8.8%) and Germany (down -7%).
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Denmark incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Germany: -US$7.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020.)
- China: -$3 billion
- Sweden: -$2.8 billion
- Netherlands: -$1.9 billion
- Belgium: -$1.5 billion
- Italy: -$1.1 billion
- Czech Republic: -$888.2 million
- Poland: -$708.5 million
- Bangladesh: -$590 million
- Latvia: -$342.3 million
Among Denmark’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Danish deficits with Sweden (up 249.3%), Belgium (up 34.8%) and Italy (up 28.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Denmark’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Denmark to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Denmark earned an overall $10.7 billion trade surplus in 2020, down by -16.2% from the $12.8 billion in black ink one year earlier.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Denmark incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United States: US$2 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020.)
- Norway: $1.8 billion
- United Kingdom: $1.6 billion
- Japan: $967.8 million
- Australia: $769.7 million
- Finland: $711.7 million
- Saudi Arabia: $505.2 million
- Singapore: $381.2 million
- United Arab Emirates: $345.8 million
- South Korea: $311.2 million
Among Denmark’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Danish surpluses with the United Arab Emirates (up 626.7%), South Korea (up 145.6%) and United States (up 9.2%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Denmark’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Denmark to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Danish Trading Partners
Fourteen Danish corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Danish companies that Forbes included:
- A.P. Moller-Maersk Group (transportation, energy)
- Carlsberg (beverages)
- Coloplast (medical equipment, supplies)
- DSV (transportation, logistics)
- Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals)
- Novozymes (biotechs)
- TDC (telecommunications services)
- Vestas Wind Systems (electrical equipment)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Denmark. Selected examples are shown below:
- Arla Foods (dairy products)
- House of Amber (jewelry)
- Kopenhagen Fur (fur clothing, accessories)
- Lego Group (toys)
- Pharma Nord (pharmaceuticals)
- Royal Copenhagen (porcelain)
- Tuborg (brewery)
See also Denmark’s Top 10 Imports and Denmark’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 31, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 31, 2021
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 31, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 31, 2021
Wikipedia, Denmark. Accessed on March 31, 2021