Year over year, the value of total Nepalese exports shrank by -10.9% from $956.6 million in 2019.
Officially named the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Nepal is a land-locked country surrounded to its east, south and west by India and to its north by the People’s Republic of China.
Nepal had a population of about 29 million residents living in a region that boasts eight of the world’s ten highest mountains.
Please note that 2020 was the most current year for which credible trade statistics were available at time of article publication.
Nepal’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list of Nepal’s top 15 trade partners that bought the most Nepalese shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each importing country’s percentage share of total exported goods from Nepal.
- India: US$623.9 million (72.9% of total Nepalese exports)
- United States: $86.8 million (10.2%)
- Germany: $23.6 million (2.8%)
- United Kingdom: $17.1 million (2%)
- Turkey: $12.3 million (1.4%)
- France: $9.7 million (1.1%)
- Japan: $7.9 million (0.9%)
- Canada: $6.4 million (0.7%)
- Australia: $6.2 million (0.7%)
- China: $5.7 million (0.7%)
- Italy: $5.6 million (0.7%)
- Bangladesh: $4 million (0.5%)
- Netherlands: $3.7 million (0.4%)
- Switzerland: $3.5 million (0.4%)
- Kenya: $3.4 million (0.4%)
By value, the bulk of Nepali shipments by value (95.8%) was delivered to its top 15 trading partners.
China was the only top importers that decreased its purchases from Nepal from 2019 to 2020, down in value by -68.3%. Among the other 14 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of -66.7% for Bangladesh up to 30772.7% for Kenya.
The only top customer to increase its spending on Nepal’s exported products from 2019 to 2020 was Kenya via a 30,773% gain.
Leading the year-over-year decliners were importers of Nepalese products in mainland China (down -68.3% from 2019), Bangladesh (down -66.7%), Turkey (down -49%), Italy (down -37.9%) then the United Kingdom (down -22.6%).
Countries Causing Nepal’s Largest Trade Deficits
Nepal incurred an overall -$8.9 billion trade deficit for 2020, down by -21.8% from -$11.4 billion one year earlier in 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, Nepal incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- India: -US$6.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- China: -$1.3 billion
- Argentina: -$216.2 million
- United Arab Emirates: -$179.9 million
- Indonesia: -$150.1 million
- Canada: -$148.8 million
- Ukraine: -$90.8 million
- South Korea: -$86.8 million
- South Africa: -$85.4 million
- United States of America: -$84.8 million
Among Nepal’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Nepalese deficits with Argentina (up 133.2%), United States of America (up 42.7%) and Canada (up 25%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Nepal’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Nepal to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating Nepal’s Best Trade Surpluses
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, Nepal incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Kenya: US$2.8 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- Sudan: $650,000
- Algeria: $634,000
- Denmark: $505,000
- Anguilla: $373,000
- Yemen: $151,000
- New Caledonia: $91,000
- Iceland: $85,000
- Niger: $83,000
- Chad: $37,000
Among Nepal’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Nepalese surpluses with Sudan (up 32,400%), Iceland (up 136.1%) and Chad (up 68.2%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
In addition, Nepal went from incurring deficits in 2019 trading with Denmark (-$859,000) and Kenya (-$131,000) to posting the surpluses listed above for each country.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Nepal’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Nepal to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Nepalese Export Companies
Not one Nepalese corporation ranks among the Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Nepal. Selected examples are shown below.
- Chaudhary Group (conglomerate)
- Citizens Bank International (commercial bank)
- Deurali-Janta Pharmaceuticals (drugs and medicines)
- Giribandhu Tea Estate (beverages)
- Hulas Motors (vehicles)
- IME Group (conglomerate)
- Krishna Pauroti (bakery)
- Nepal Oil Corporation (oil, gas)
See also Nepal’s Top 10 Imports, Nepal’s Top 10 Exports, India’s Top Trading Partners, Palm Oil Exports by Country and Top Cardamoms Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on June 29, 2022
Forbes 2019 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 29, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 29, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 29, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 29, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Nepal. Accessed on June 29, 2022
Wikipedia, Nepal. Accessed on June 29, 2022