Developing economies: With whom do they mainly trade?

In 2021, developing economies sent most of their exports to the United States ($1.6 trillion), followed by China ($1.3 trillion) and other Asian economies.

In terms of imports, China ranked first (US$1.7 trillion) and was followed by the United States (US$893 billion), with only half of the value going to China, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Developing economies’ main export destinations, 2021 (Billions of United States dollars).

Exports from American developing economies were more oriented towards the Americas, especially the United States of America ($503 billion).

For African developing economies, the main export markets were in Asia, with China ($93.7 billion) and India ($42.5 billion) as the main destinations.

Figures on international merchandise trade measure the value of goods that add to or subtract from an economy’s stock of material resources as they enter or leave its territory (United Nations, 2011).

This definition differs slightly from the definition of merchandise trade in the balance of payments framework.

Developing economies

The value of exports is mainly recorded as the free on board (FOB) value, while the value of imports includes cost, insurance and freight (CIF).

The trade balance is calculated as the difference between the values of exports and imports.

Figures for merchandise trade from 2014 to 2021, at the level of total output with the partner world, are compiled jointly by UNCTAD and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

UNCTAD, founded in 1964, is a UN-dependent organization that promotes foreign trade and seeks the growth of developing countries.

It also analyzes economic development problems in the context of international trade principles and policies and seeks the harmonization of trade, development and regional economic policies. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland


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