Evolution of the world's 25 top trading nations

Discover in less than one minute the evolution of the world's main trading nations.

Trade has significantly expanded in the last four decades. In 1979, trade represented 36% of global GDP and by 2019 the figure had grown to 60%.

This expansion came with changes in the competitive landscape of global trade, and the concomitant rise of the south. The above graphic tells part of this story.

For instance, it captures the meteoric rise of China, from the periphery of global trade to the export powerhouse of the world.

It also shows the gradual but steady climb of Mexico to becoming the eleventh largest exporter of the world, propelled by, among other things, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and now the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

But the biggest stories are also about smaller countries. In this period, Viet Nam increased its exports by more than 50 times to become the twentieth largest exporter of the world.

In contrast, whereas the United States and Germany maintained their competitive stance throughout the years, the United Kingdom, a historically trading nation, has seen its share of global trade fall within the last decade. By 2020, it had left, for the first time, the list of the world's top 10 exporters.