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Countries with the biggest trade deficits

Stacker Logo By Frederick Reese of Stacker | Slide 1 of 51: During his first Inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said, “It is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government... Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

One of the most important forms of international relations is trade, which can serve as a conduit for cultural and political understanding between nations while easing tensions. While many foreigners may be unaware of American politics or norms, most are familiar with American brands such as Levi's, Kellogg's, Ford, Microsoft, Facebook, and Disney.

Current headlines about a potential trade war between the U.S. and China has many examining the trade deficits of the U.S. and other countries around the world. While trade deficits could reflect political decisions to foster foreign assistance through international trade (as in the case of the U.S.), a trade deficit typically reflects a weak or declining economy.

Stacker has looked at global import and export data from the CIA and the World Bank for all 195 nations and calculated the 50 countries with the largest trade deficit as measured by the sum of their global merchandise and service exports minus the sum of their global merchandise and service imports. The data are accurate as of 2017 and countries are ranked from the lowest to the highest trade deficit.

While China, Germany, and Japan currently have the largest trade surpluses, this does not present a complete picture since countries prioritize spending and selling differently. As of 2017, the U.S, China, Germany, the U.K., and France were the biggest importers while China, the U.S., Germany, Japan, and France were the biggest exporters.

Read on to learn which nation has a trade deficit larger than the next 37 nations combined.

You might also like: Ranking the biggest trade partners of the U.S.

Countries with the biggest trade deficits

During his first Inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said, “It is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government... Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

One of the most important forms of international relations is trade, which can serve as a conduit for cultural and political understanding between nations while easing tensions. While many foreigners may be unaware of American politics or norms, most are familiar with American brands such as Levi's, Kellogg's, Ford, Microsoft, Facebook, and Disney.

Current headlines about a potential trade war between the U.S. and China has many examining the trade deficits of the U.S. and other countries around the world. While trade deficits could reflect political decisions to foster foreign assistance through international trade (as in the case of the U.S.), a trade deficit typically reflects a weak or declining economy.

Stacker has looked at global import and export data from the CIA and the World Bank for all 195 nations and calculated the 50 countries with the largest trade deficit as measured by the sum of their global merchandise and service exports minus the sum of their global merchandise and service imports. The data are accurate as of 2017 and countries are ranked from the lowest to the highest trade deficit.

While China, Germany, and Japan currently have the largest trade surpluses, this does not present a complete picture since countries prioritize spending and selling differently. As of 2017, the U.S, China, Germany, the U.K., and France were the biggest importers while China, the U.S., Germany, Japan, and France were the biggest exporters.

Read on to learn which nation has a trade deficit larger than the next 37 nations combined.

© Andrii Yalanskyi // Shutterstock

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