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Ukraine’s Most Significant Trading Partners

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Ukraine is one of the former Soviet Union’s most important economic hubs, and its fertile chernozem soil and robust agricultural sector made it a breadbasket for a long time.

The trade value between Russia and Ukraine peaked in 2011 at $49.2 billion but has since dropped by 85% to $7.2 billion in 2020.

During this time, European countries such as Poland and Germany surpassed Russia in trade value with Ukraine, with trade with the EU totaling more than $58 billion in 2021.

Cereals accounted for about one-fifth of Ukraine’s total exports in 2020, at $9.4 billion. It was the world’s second-largest cereal exporter after the United States. Ukraine’s cereal exports ($9.3 billion) were slightly more significant than Russia’s.

Another vital export commodity for Ukraine was iron and steel ($7.7 billion). However, Ukraine is only the 37th largest exporter in the world.

Natural resources (iron, steel, mining goods, agricultural items), chemical products, and machinery are the principal exports of Ukraine.

It represents a significant increase of 48.5% since 2016. EU exports to Ukraine totaled more than €24.2 billion. Ukraine is a leading exporter of grains and vegetable oils around the world.

Corn and wheat are the most important agricultural exports. Ukraine was the second-largest grain exporter to the European Union (EU) in 2021 and a significant food provider to Asia and Africa’s low- and middle-income countries.

China was Ukraine’s top trading partner in 2020, with $15.3 billion in commerce between the two nations, more than double the value of any other trading partner.

Ukraine’s following three top commercial partners were Germany ($7.4 billion), Poland ($7.4 billion), and Russia ($7.2 billion), with imports accounting for the majority of trade.

In 2020, China was Ukraine’s most important commercial partner, with $15.3 billion in bilateral trade, more than the value of any other trading relationship. Germany ($7.4 billion), Poland ($7.4 billion), and Russia ($7.2 billion) were Ukraine’s following three main commercial partners, with imports accounting for the majority of trade.

Ukraine is the world’s largest supplier of sunflower oil, accounting for up to 46% of sunflower seed and safflower-oil production. Russia is the world’s second-largest producer, exporting over 23% of global supplies.

In the form of animal grains and vegetable oils and seed oils, Ukraine’s robust agricultural economy accounts for a considerable portion of the country’s exports. In 2020, these products accounted for over 35% of Ukraine’s exports, with a total value of $17 billion.

Iron ore and steel and advanced electrical machinery, equipment, and other mechanical appliances are the two cornerstones of Ukraine’s industry and exports.

Exports of crude iron and steel and its processed products totaled $13 billion in 2020, accounting for more than a quarter of Ukraine’s total exports. Ukraine’s primary imports are vehicles, machinery, and the fuels required to operate these items.

In 2020, international trade accounted for 65 percent of Ukraine’s GDP, with $102.9 billion in goods traded with countries worldwide.

The invasion of Crimea by Russia contributed to a 30 percent reduction in Ukraine’s 2015 trade value ($75.6 billion) year over year. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, Ukraine’s foreign trade has been irreversibly crippled.

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1. China

China was Ukraine’s top trading partner in 2020, with $15.3 billion in commerce between the two nations, more than double the value of any other trading partner. Moreover, China preserved its role as Ukraine’s largest trading partner at the end of 2020, which it had gained in 2019.

Ukraine’s total commercial turnover in 2020 was $103.4 billion, down 6.4 percent from the previous year.

Imports totaled $54.2 billion in 2020, down 10.3 percent from the previous year. At the same time, Ukraine’s exports are expected to drop by only 1.7 percent in 2020, to $ 49.2 billion. Ukraine primarily exported grains, ferrous metals, animal and vegetable fats, and oils.

2. Germany

With 28%, Germany came in third, followed by Poland with 6.1 percent. Ukraine exported $7.4 billion to Germany in 2019.

Ukraine’s exports to Germany have climbed at an average rate of 8.88 percent during the last 24 years, from $400 million in 1995 to $3.08 billion in 2019. Ukraine did not export any services to Germany in 2019.

3. Poland

Ukraine exported $7.4 billion to Poland in 2019. Ukraine’s biggest exports to Poland were iron ore ($394 million), hot-rolled iron ($180 million), and soybean oil ($91.2 million). Ukraine’s exports to Poland have climbed at an average pace of 10.5 percent during the last 24 years, from $251 million in 1995 to $2.75 billion in 2019.

Ukraine did not export any services to Poland in 2019. Poland surpassed Russia as the biggest consumer of Ukrainian commodities in February. Because the two economies are so closely linked, Russia has long been Ukraine’s principal trading partner.

However, after the takeover of Crimea in 2014, ties have deteriorated, and trade has suffered as a result of several embargoes as the two countries fight an unofficial war.

This year, Ukraine’s trade with Russia fell 11% q/q to $2.4 billion. Ukraine exported $818 million worth of goods to Poland between January and March, compared to $759 million to Russia.

4. Russia

Ukraine exported $7.2 billion to Russia in 2019. Aluminum Oxide ($657 million), Hot-Rolled Iron ($378 million), and Raw Iron Bars ($261 million) are the top three products Ukraine exports to Russia. However, Ukraine’s exports to Russia have fallen at an annualized rate of 0.72 percent during the last 23 years, from $5.54 billion in 1996 to $4.69 billion in 2019.

Ukraine did not export any services to Russia in 2019. Therefore, for exports, the Russian Federation, Poland, Italy, Turkey, and Germany were the most important trading partners, while for imports, the Russian Federation, Poland, Italy, Turkey, and Germany were the most important.

5. Turkey

This year, trade between Turkey and Ukraine increased by 50% to $5 billion. Turkey is Ukraine’s fifth-largest trading partner, even though business ties between the two nations grow every year.

Although 2021 is not yet finished, it has already experienced a $5 billion transaction volume. Turkey’s corporations invested $400 million in Ukraine that year, making it its largest investor.

Turkey placed fifth among Ukraine’s top trading partners in the first nine months of 2021, behind China, Poland, Germany, and Russia. If the specifics of a long-awaited free trade agreement are ironed out after years of discussions, Ukraine’s trade volume with Turkey might treble to $10 billion per year.

6. Belarus

Belarus’ major trading partner, accounting for 32 percent of the country’s total goods trade. Belarus is Ukraine’s largest trading partner, accounting for 32 percent of commerce. Belarus received $4.2 billion in Ukrainian exports.

Ukraine’s primary exports to Belarus are soybeans ($164 million), railway freight cars ($92.6 million), and locomotive parts ($83.8 million). Belarusian exports to Ukraine accounted for 68 percent of total exports.

7. Italy

Ukraine’s exports to Italy totaled 4.14 billion dollars. Iron and steel, animal, vegetable fats and oils, cleavage products, cereals, timber and wood, wood charcoal, salt, sulfur, stone, plaster, lime, and cement are among the principal exported items by Ukraine to Italy.

Soybeans ($164 million), Railway Freight Cars ($92.6 million), and Locomotive Parts ($83.8 million) are the three most profitable commodities. Ukraine’s exports to Italy surged by 48 percent last year.

8. United States

With $3.9 billion in total (two-way) goods commerce in 2019, Ukraine is our 67th largest goods trading partner. Exports of goods reached $2.4 billion, while imports totaled $1.3 billion. In 2019, the United States goods trade surplus with Ukraine was $1.1 billion.

Ukraine exported $1.23 billion to the United States in 2019. Pig iron ($462 million), iron pipes ($146 million), and fruit juice ($46.7 million) were the top exports from Ukraine to the United States.

The success of Ukraine’s transition to a modern democratic state with a thriving market economy is critical to the United States. Base metals (59.0 percent), agriculture products (12.0 percent), and machinery and mechanical appliances accounted for most of the $1.3 billion in U.S. imports from Ukraine in 2019. (9.5 percent ).

9. India

exports totaled $519.66 million, while your imports totaled $2,584.27 million. Pharmaceuticals make up a large portion of India’s exports to Ukraine. India is the second-largest exporter of pharmaceutical items to Ukraine in terms of value after Germany. Ukraine is unquestionably a vital trading partner for India.

Ukraine recorded a 1.25 billion dollar goods trade surplus. Fats and oils of vegetable origin accounted for 73.3 percent of Ukraine’s exports to India.

Sunflower oil is Ukraine’s most important export to India, followed by inorganic chemicals, iron and steel, plastics, chemicals, and other goods. India is Ukraine’s second-largest export market in the Asia Pacific and fifth-largest export market.

10. Netherlands

Packaged Medicaments ($131 million), Tractors ($60 million), and Delivery Trucks ($43.7 million) are the top three products exported by the Netherlands to Ukraine. The Netherlands purchased about $2.6 billion worth of goods from Ukraine last year. Imports of products totaled 177 million euros in 2002, around one-twelfth of the previous year’s total.

Last year, Dutch businesses primarily imported refined vegetable oils and fats from Ukraine, such as sunflower oil and maize. In the previous two decades, the value of commodities sent to Ukraine has tripled. Ukraine’s imports amounted to just under 0.4 percent of total Dutch imports.

Maize worth 536 million euros was imported from Ukraine by the Netherlands. It amounts to over a quarter of the country’s total imports. Ukraine is one of the top three suppliers of vegetable refined oils and oilseeds for refined oils.

Epilogue

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is swiftly changing international ties and trading partners for both countries. Although it is difficult to predict the result of the conflict and its implications for international trade, the nations that are currently backing Ukraine’s defense are likely to become the country’s top trading partners in the future.

The ongoing war continues to affect geopolitical relations and international trade—and to put the situation in context.

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