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The Top 50 Largest Importers in the World

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The 50 Largest Importers in the World

The Top 50 Largest Importers in the World

In 2022, global imports climbed to $25.6 trillion in value, or about the size of the U.S. GDP.

As an engine of growth, global trade broadens consumer choices and can lower the cost of goods. For businesses, it can improve the quality of inputs and strengthen competitiveness.

This graphic shows the 50 largest importers, with data from the World Trade Organization.

Which Countries Import the Most Goods?

With $3.4 trillion in imports in 2022, the U.S. is the largest importer globally.

Even though higher inflation and market uncertainty loomed over the economy, U.S. imports increased 15% annually, with China as its top goods importing partner.

CountryValue 2022ShareAnnual % Change
🇺🇸 U.S.$3,376B13.2%15.0%
🇨🇳 China$2,716B10.6%1.0%
🇩🇪 Germany$1,571B6.1%11.0%
🇳🇱 Netherlands$899B3.5%19.0%
🇯🇵 Japan$897B3.5%17.0%
🇬🇧 UK$824B3.2%19.0%
🇫🇷 France$818B3.2%14.0%
🇰🇷 South Korea$731B2.9%19.0%
🇮🇳 India$723B2.8%26.0%
🇮🇹 Italy$689B2.7%22.0%
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR$668B2.6%-6.0%
🇲🇽 Mexico$626B2.4%20.0%
🇧🇪 Belgium$621B2.4%18.0%
🇨🇦 Canada$582B2.3%15.0%
🇪🇸 Spain$493B1.9%18.0%
🇸🇬 Singapore$476B1.9%17.0%
🇹🇼 Taiwan$436B1.7%14.0%
🇦🇪 UAE$425B1.4%12.0%
🇵🇱 Poland$381B1.5%11.0%
🇹🇷 Turkey$364B1.4%34.0%
🇻🇳 Viet Nam$359B1.4%8.0%
🇨🇭 Switzerland$356B1.4%10.0%
🇦🇺 Australia$309B1.2%18.0%
🇹🇭 Thailand$303B1.2%14.0%
🇲🇾 Malaysia$294B1.1%24.0%
🇧🇷 Brazil$290B1.1%25.0%
🇷🇺 Russia$242B0.9%-21.0%
🇮🇩 Indonesia$237B0.9%21.0%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic$236B0.9%11.0%
🇦🇹 Austria$232B0.9%6.0%
🇸🇪 Sweden$202B0.8%8.0%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia$188B0.7%23.0%
🇭🇺 Hungary$163B0.6%14.0%
🇮🇪 Ireland$146B0.6%21.0%
🇵🇭 Philippines$144B0.6%26.0%
🇿🇦 South Africa$136B0.5%19.0%
🇷🇴 Romania$132B0.5%14.0%
🇩🇰 Denmark$127B0.5%5.0%
🇵🇹 Portugal$115B0.4%17.0%
🇸🇰 Slovak Republic$113B0.4%9.0%
🇮🇱 Israel$110B0.4%16.0%
🇳🇴 Norway$106B0.4%8.0%
🇨🇱 Chile$104B0.4%13.0%
🇬🇷 Greece$98B0.4%27.0%
🇫🇮 Finland$97B0.4%13.0%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh$89B0.3%10.0%
🇪🇬 Egypt$86B0.3%27.0%
🇦🇷 Argentina$82B0.3%19.0%
🇮🇶 Iraq$78B0.3%18.0%
🇭🇷 Croatia$77B0.3%27.0%
Rest of World$2,054B8.0%
🌎 World$25,621B100.0%13.0%

As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s imports hit $2.7 trillion in value, although growth slowed in 2022.

Taiwan, China’s top trading partner for imports, is a major provider of electronics products, including semiconductor chips. However, the China-Taiwan trade relationship remains complicated given geopolitical tensions sparking unexpected import bans.

A handful of European countries also fell in the top 10 importers, led by Germany and the Netherlands. Overall, the European Union is the largest importer of agricultural products, fuels and mining products, and automotive products globally.

Global Trade Fragmentation

In 2023, the World Trade Organization projects that import volumes will contract as much as 1.2% across North and South America, Asia, and Europe.

In part, this is being driven by slower demand in manufacturing economies.

Whether or not this weaker volume is also being impacted by trade fragmentation remains unclear. One indicator may be seen in the trade of intermediate goods, which are products like wood and steel that are used in the production of a final good.

In the first half of 2023, the share of intermediate goods in world trade dropped to 48.5%, down from its three-year average of 51%. On the one hand, this may suggest that supply chains are contracting. Yet it may also be due to the influence of higher commodity prices, which have a bigger impact on the cost of intermediate goods than on final goods.

Still, other factors have an impact on the flow of trade. These include subsidies, export bans, and legislative policy, such as the $52.7 billion U.S. CHIPS Act, that incentivizes local production of semiconductors.

Considering these factors, broader trends of global de-globalization remain to be seen.

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Economy

Economic Growth Forecasts for G7 and BRICS Countries in 2024

The IMF has released its economic growth forecasts for 2024. How do the G7 and BRICS countries compare?

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Faded horizontal bar chart visualization of G7 and BRICS countries' real GDP growth forecasts for 2024.

G7 & BRICS Real GDP Growth Forecasts for 2024

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) has released its real gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecasts for 2024, and while global growth is projected to stay steady at 3.2%, various major nations are seeing declining forecasts.

This chart visualizes the 2024 real GDP growth forecasts using data from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook for G7 and BRICS member nations along with Saudi Arabia, which is still considering an invitation to join the bloc.

Get the Key Insights of the IMF’s World Economic Outlook

Want a visual breakdown of the insights from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook report?

This visual is part of a special dispatch of the key takeaways exclusively for VC+ members.

Get the full dispatch of charts by signing up to VC+.

Mixed Economic Growth Prospects for Major Nations in 2024

Economic growth projections by the IMF for major nations are mixed, with the majority of G7 and BRICS countries forecasted to have slower growth in 2024 compared to 2023.

Only three BRICS-invited or member countries, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and South Africa, have higher projected real GDP growth rates in 2024 than last year.

GroupCountryReal GDP Growth (2023)Real GDP Growth (2024P)
G7🇺🇸 U.S.2.5%2.7%
G7🇨🇦 Canada1.1%1.2%
G7🇯🇵 Japan1.9%0.9%
G7🇫🇷 France0.9%0.7%
G7🇮🇹 Italy0.9%0.7%
G7🇬🇧 UK0.1%0.5%
G7🇩🇪 Germany-0.3%0.2%
BRICS🇮🇳 India7.8%6.8%
BRICS🇨🇳 China5.2%4.6%
BRICS🇦🇪 UAE3.4%3.5%
BRICS🇮🇷 Iran4.7%3.3%
BRICS🇷🇺 Russia3.6%3.2%
BRICS🇪🇬 Egypt3.8%3.0%
BRICS-invited🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia-0.8%2.6%
BRICS🇧🇷 Brazil2.9%2.2%
BRICS🇿🇦 South Africa0.6%0.9%
BRICS🇪🇹 Ethiopia7.2%6.2%
🌍 World3.2%3.2%

China and India are forecasted to maintain relatively high growth rates in 2024 at 4.6% and 6.8% respectively, but compared to the previous year, China is growing 0.6 percentage points slower while India is an entire percentage point slower.

On the other hand, four G7 nations are set to grow faster than last year, which includes Germany making its comeback from its negative real GDP growth of -0.3% in 2023.

Faster Growth for BRICS than G7 Nations

Despite mostly lower growth forecasts in 2024 compared to 2023, BRICS nations still have a significantly higher average growth forecast at 3.6% compared to the G7 average of 1%.

While the G7 countries’ combined GDP is around $15 trillion greater than the BRICS nations, with continued higher growth rates and the potential to add more members, BRICS looks likely to overtake the G7 in economic size within two decades.

BRICS Expansion Stutters Before October 2024 Summit

BRICS’ recent expansion has stuttered slightly, as Argentina’s newly-elected president Javier Milei declined its invitation and Saudi Arabia clarified that the country is still considering its invitation and has not joined BRICS yet.

Even with these initial growing pains, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters in February that 34 different countries have submitted applications to join the growing BRICS bloc.

Any changes to the group are likely to be announced leading up to or at the 2024 BRICS summit which takes place October 22-24 in Kazan, Russia.

Get the Full Analysis of the IMF’s Outlook on VC+

This visual is part of an exclusive special dispatch for VC+ members which breaks down the key takeaways from the IMF’s 2024 World Economic Outlook.

For the full set of charts and analysis, sign up for VC+.

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