Interactive: Mapping the Flow of International Trade

Michael’s opinion: A must see interactive infographic on the flow of international trade. Look how strong Germany’s role is. 


click here to get to the interactive map

The Flow of International Trade

With the election of Donald Trump, international trade is suddenly at the top of the U.S. agenda. And it occurred to me, I actually have very little idea what the big picture of foreign trade looks like. And there are surprisingly few resources on the web. So, I gathered up the data via the U.N. Comtrade API and put it together in this map.

What does this map tell us?

  • I can only speak for myself, but what jumps out most to me is how concentrated the flows are in just three countries: the U.S., China, and Germany. Nearly half of all goods traded around the world go through one of these three countries, either exported to or imported from.
  • Germany has the largest economy in the EU, but not by much. The GDP’s of the UK and France are both about 25% smaller than Germany. But it’s clear by looking at the map that Germany dominates EU trade. Its total exports are nearly on a par with the US, $1.3 trillion vs $1.5 trillion. Of the 28 EU member states, Germany is the #1 exporter to 17.
  • What strikes me about the United States is how balanced its trade is with Canada and Mexico. To hear some of the recent rhetoric about Mexico, you would think the trade is completely one-sided — goods flowing in, money flowing out. In reality, America’s imports and exports with Mexico are roughly equal ($240 billion and $294 billion). The same is true of Canada ($312 billion and $347 billion).
  • With total imports of $1.9 trillion and total exports of $2.1 trillion, China holds the largest share of foreign trade. I don’t know whether China’s trade policies are good or bad for the rest of the world. But visually, it sure does look like an octopus with its tentacles wrapped around the Earth.

by: Max Galka on Metrocosm


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