World’s Most Traded Goods, Lead Exporter and Concentration, 2016

World’s Most Traded Goods, Lead Exporter and Concentration, 2016

Source: Observatory of Economic Complexity, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. OECD (2021), “Global value chains: Efficiency and risks in the context of COVID-19”, OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19), OECD Publishing, Paris.

The concentration level of production is higher among exporters than importers, meaning that a few countries tend to account for a large share of the products traded on international markets. The above graph depicts the most traded goods in terms of value and the leading exporter. Germany, China, and the United States account for the leading exporters, but several countries have also developed a specialization and advantage in sectors such as petroleum, natural gas, aircraft, and trucks. Concentration tends to be lower among intermediate goods, indicating a more competitive landscape. Imports tend to have a lower concentration level reflecting an existing demand irrespective of the origin of the products. This underlines that manufacturing tends to occur in major clusters with a limited number of countries accounting for the bulk of exports while demand is a function of the distribution of the world population and income levels.