Special Report

The Most Import-Dependent Economies in the World

Global trade was hit hard in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, wreaking mayhem on supply chains. While international trade has returned to pre-pandemic levels, pent-up demand for goods and services and continued supply chain disruptions contributed to the global spike in prices. Prices are up in American grocery store staples as well as in developing, poorer countries.

Many of the nations whose economies have struggled most during the pandemic are heavily dependent on international trade. Some are low-income countries like Somalia, while others may be geographically small but have among the highest global per-capita incomes, like Luxembourg. (Find out if Luxembourg is among the countries where people have the highest average net incomes.)

To find the most trade-dependent economies in the world, 24/7 Wall St. ranked countries by imports as percent of gross domestic product, using data from the World Bank. Trade-dependent countries would rely on imports to satisfy their citizens’ needs. Additional data includes imports, exports, and trade as percent of GDP and in current U.S. dollars. GDP is also in current U.S. dollars. All data is from the World Bank for the most recent year available.

Exports and imports of goods and services include merchandise, freight services, communications services, banking, insurance, royalties, licensing fees and other valuables. They do not include so-called factor services, like the cost of employee compensation, investment income, or international money transfers.

Smaller countries lacking in natural and human resources tend to be more reliant on trade due to limitations of their size. Larger countries may be dependent on trade due to their stage of economic development and their struggles in developing industrialization and diversifying and growing their economies enough. Being reliant on trade makes these economies more vulnerable to global trade downturns. (These are the countries with the worst wealth inequality.)

Click here to see the most import-dependent economies in the world

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