Greece exported US$35.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 26.2% increase from 2016 but a -7.4% decrease from 2019 to 2020.
Applying a continental lens, 69.5% of Greece exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 17.4% were sold to Asian importers.
Greece shipped another 6.2% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to North America (4.7%), Oceania led by Australia and Marshall Islands (1.1%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1%).
Greece’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Greece’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Greek shipments by dollar value during 2020. Shown within parenthesis is each import country’s percentage of total Greek exports.
- Italy: US$3.7 billion (10.6% of total Greek exports)
- Germany: $2.7 billion (7.8%)
- Cyprus: $2.3 billion (6.5%)
- France: $2 billion (5.8%)
- Bulgaria: $1.8 billion (5%)
- Turkey: $1.5 billion (4.4%)
- United Kingdom: $1.4 billion (3.9%)
- Spain: $1.3 billion (3.7%)
- United States: $1.3 billion (3.7%)
- Romania: $1.3 billion (3.6%)
- China: $979.1 million (2.8%)
- Netherlands: $796.4 million (2.3%)
- Lebanon: $741.9 million (2.1%)
- Libya: $728.6 million (2.1%)
- Poland: $659.5 million (1.9%)
About two-thirds (66%) of Greek exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Among Greece’s top 15 trade partners, Libya increased its purchases of Greek exports by the highest percentage thanks to a 61.4% increase from 2019 to 2020. In second place was France with its 53.7% boost in imports from Greece. Poland registered a 19% uptick, trailed by Romania (up 12.4%).
Lebanon (down -43%), Turkey (down -30.8%) and the United States (down -11.2%) led the declines in consuming Greek imports from 2019 to 2020.
Overall Greece incurred a -$20.4 billion trade deficit during 2020, a -16% decrease from the -$24.3 billion in red ink for 2019.
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.
In 2020, Greece incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Germany: -US$4.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- China: -$3.3 billion
- Russia: -$3.1 billion
- Netherlands: -$2.7 billion
- Iraq: -$2.2 billion
- Ireland: -$1.9 billion
- Kazakhstan: -$1.8 billion
- Belgium: -$1.4 billion
- Italy: -$1.3 billion
- Spain: -$627.1 million
Among Greek’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Greek deficits with Ireland (up 136.7%), Italy (up 63.8%) and Netherlands (up 23%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Greece’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Greece to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
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.
In 2020, Greece incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Cyprus: US$1.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- Libya: $666.5 million
- Lebanon: $659.4 million
- Romania: $511.9 million
- Gibraltar: $481.4 million
- Albania: $435.4 million
- North Macedonia: $365.3 million
- Croatia: $261.2 million
- Japan: $239.3 million
- Malta: $231.9 million
Among Greek’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Greek surpluses with Japan (up 942.4%), Croatia (up 397.5%) and Romania (up 113.9%) grew at the fastest percentage rate from 2019 to 2020.
In addition, Greece went from a -$220.5 million deficit in 2019 to the surplus shown above trading with Libya.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Greece’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Greece to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Greek Trading Partners
Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, here are examples of large international trade players headquartered in Greece.
- Hellenic Telecom Organization (telecommunications)
- Hellenic Petroleum (refined oil, gas)
- Motor Oil Hellas (oil, gas)
Global trade intelligence firm Zepol also mentions the following companies as examples of Greek exporters.
- Inomessiniak (wine, olive oil)
- Interoliva (olives, glass bottles and jars)
- Promelk (t-shirts, brassieres, sweaters)
- St Agelopoulo (olives, live carp)
- Tsalma Marble Of Central North Greece (monument/building stone, wood boxes/cases/crates)
See also Greece’s Top 10 Imports, Greece’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on March 3, 2021
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 3, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 3, 2021
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 3, 2021
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 3, 2021