Year over year, the value of Israel’s exports dropped -14.9% from 2019 to 2020.
Adopting a continental lens, 35.3% of Israel’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 31% were sold to importers in North America. Israel shipped another 27.7% worth of goods to Asia.
Lesser percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (3.8%), Oceania led by Australia (1.2%) and Africa (1.1%).
Israel’s Top 15 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Israel’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Israeli shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage consumption of total Israeli exports.
- United States: US$13.1 billion (26.3% of total Israeli exports)
- China: $4.1 billion (8.3%)
- United Kingdom: $3.7 billion (7.5%)
- Netherlands: $2.5 billion (4.9%)
- Germany: $1.7 billion (3.4%)
- India: $1.6 billion (3.2%)
- Belgium: $1.45 billion (2.9%)
- Turkey: $1.41 billion (2.8%)
- Hong Kong: $1.24 billion (2.5%)
- France: $1.15 billion (2.3%)
- Brazil: $998.9 million (2%)
- Japan: $947.7 million (1.9%)
- Spain: $872.5 million (1.8%)
- Italy: $776.8 million (1.6%)
- South Korea: $776.8 million (1.6%)
Approaching three-quarters (73%) of Israeli exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trading partners.
Israel increased its exports to 4 top trading partners from 2019 to 2020 namely the Netherlands (up 13.7%), South Korea (up 8.6%), Japan (up 8.4%) and Germany (up 2.1%).
Leading the annual decliners were Hong Kong (down -58.2%), United Kingdom (down -25.6%) and France (down -23.8%).
Overall, Israel incurred an -$20.4 billion product trade deficit for 2020, up by 13.1% from the -$18 billion in red ink one year earlier.
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.
Israel incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$7.6 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- Turkey: -$2.9 billion
- Germany: -$2.9 billion
- Italy: -$2.1 billion
- Japan: -$1.1 billion
- Switzerland: -$841.6 million
- Vietnam: -$817.0 million
- Russia: -$768.2 million
- South Korea: -$760.7 million
- Czech Republic: -$740.5 million
Among Israel’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Israeli deficits with China (up 37.5%), Switzerland (up 26.7%) and Italy (up 0.2%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Israel’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Israel 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.
Israel incurred the highest trade surpluses at the expense of the following countries.
- United States: US$3.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- United Kingdom: $1.8 billion
- Netherlands: $1.1 billion
- Brazil: $566.8 million
- Australia: $333.6 million
- Canada: $217.3 million
- Azerbaijan: $182.7 million
- Cyprus: $165 million
- Colombia: $163.7 million
- Hong Kong: $143.1 million
Among Israel’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Israeli surpluses with Colombia (up 154.8%), Netherlands (up 44.3%) and Azerbaijan (up 37.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Israel’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Israel to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Israeli Export Companies
Ten Israeli corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the world-class Israeli companies that Forbes included.
- Bank Hapoalim (financial institution)
- Bank Leumi (financial institution)
- Check Point Software (information systems)
- Delek Group (investment services)
- FIBI Holdings (regional bank)
- IDB Holding (investment services)
- Israel Corp (investment services)
- Israel Discount Bank (regional bank)
- Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (regional bank)
- Teva Pharmaceutical (health care)
Shown within parentheses is the industry in which each country operates.
See also Israel’s Top 10 Imports and Israel’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Middle East: Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 7, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Jerusalem, Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021