Mental Floss

Each Country’s Top Import and Export, Mapped

Michele Debczak /

You can try to shop locally when possible, but it's hard to avoid participating in the global economy altogether. Many of the goods you use every day, from the coffee in your mug to the gas in your tank, traveled thousands of miles from their country of origin. To see which items contribute to global trade, check out the maps below. created these maps of the top exports and imports by country using statistics from the CEPII – BACI: International Trade Database. Petroleum appears frequently on both graphics. It's the commodity the United States was importing and exporting the most in 2019. It's also the top import in Mexico, Australia, and China, and the top export in Canada, Iran, and the UK.

Petroleum isn't the only resource that's crossing national lines. The second-biggest export is gold, which comes from countries like Nicaragua, Uganda, and Senegal. Food—like coffee, bananas, and tuna—also makes up a large part of the global trade market.

Some nations lay claim to more unusual exports. Only two countries—Costa Rica and Dominica—have surgical instruments as their top export, and Sri Lanka's primary export is bras.

These graphics are based on data from two years ago, and the global supply chain looks a little different today. But for a snapshot of each country's top imports and exports prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, check out the maps below.