When you think of Italy's top exports, you probably think of products like pasta, olive oil, wine, olives, and Parmesan cheese. You might not think of kiwis. Wait, you're thinking. Doesn't New Zealand export most of the world's kiwis? No, actually they don't. Italy exports almost 410 million tons of kiwis each year, surpassing New Zealand's total kiwi exports annually of about 360 million tons.

That's just one example of what many of us naturally think of when we consider a country's top food export. Others include chocolates from Belgium, Chinese silks and Irish ale, but many countries export other foods or products that might surprise you.

TUTORIAL: Investing 101

Canadian Feta
Greece is a worldwide leader in exporting feta cheese, but in recent years, the traditional Greek cheese has been imported widely from North America - Canada, in particular. Don't dismiss the Canadians; with their vast farmland, they have the resources to export tons of feta cheese each year. Frequently less expensive than feta exported from Greece, the popularity of Canadian feta cheese has increased in recent years. (For related reading, see Companies You Think Are Canadian.)

Japanese Whiskey
Many people feel that Scotland gets the blue ribbon for whiskey production. However, Japan has a thriving export in high quality, single-malt whiskey. Over the past decade, Japanese whiskeys have competed alongside Scottish whiskeys in numerous blind tastings, and often scored higher than the Scottish whiskeys. (For related reading, see Why The Yen Is So Strong.)

American Ginseng
Many people think that China has the market cornered on ginseng, mainly because it is an herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. What many people don't know, however, is that the United States is a major exporter of ginseng, shipping out over 60 tons annually. Most American ginseng is grown in Wisconsin. (For related reading, see The Basics Of Tariffs And Trade Barriers.)

Ethiopian Bamboo
When you think of Ethiopia, you probably think of the desert, but Ethiopia exports a significant amount of bamboo. Currently, Ethiopia has more than one million hectares of land covered with bamboo plantations. The country exports bamboo primarily for building and home products, such as bamboo flooring.

French Collectibles
Many people think of fine wine and cheeses when they think of French exports. Did you know that art, antiques, and stamps are also some of France's biggest exports to the United States? It seems like we can't get enough of French refinement; we spend over $2 billion each year on collectible French goods.

Australian Camel Meat
Americans might find it odd to think about eating a kangaroo steak. In Australia, kangaroo steaks are as common as beef steaks over here, and kangaroos are also prized for their leather hides. Surprisingly, Australia might be adding another meat export to its list: camel steaks. The camel population in Australia continues to grow unchecked, as they have no natural predators. As early as 2012, camel steaks could be on the list of the country's top meat exports.

Denmark Christmas Trees
In addition to exporting windmills, Denmark is one of Europe's largest Christmas tree growers. The country exports six to seven million Christmas trees each year.

The Bottom Line
It's always interesting to learn surprising facts about other countries. This short list shows us that it's truly possible to take advantage of a global economy, and perhaps take advantage of some unique products we're making and exporting right here at home. (For related reading, see How Globalization Affects Developed Countries.)

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    A Look at Greece’s Messy Fiscal Policy

    Investigate the muddy fiscal policy, tax problems, and inability to institute austerity that created the Greek crises in 2010 and 2015.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI South Africa

    Learn more about the iShares MSCI South Africa fund, which is an NYSE-listed exchange-traded fund offered and managed by BlackRock.
  3. Stock Analysis

    The 5 Biggest Canadian Oil Companies

    Obtain information about some of the largest and most successful major integrated oil corporations that are headquartered in Canada.
  4. Markets

    The 5 Biggest Canadian Insurance Companies

    Learn more about the insurance industry as a whole, how it functions in Canada, and the five largest Canada-based insurance companies.
  5. Stock Analysis

    The 5 Biggest Canadian Software Companies

    Explore information on the top revenue-generating software companies headquartered in Canada, which include some of the largest Canadian businesses overall.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap

    Read an in-depth analysis of the iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap Fund, a well-managed exchange-traded fund that tracks small-cap international stocks.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Vanguard Global ex-US Real Estate

    Take an in-depth look at the Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate ETF, an international property fund tilted toward Asian markets.
  8. Economics

    Is the Yuan a Yawn or a Nightmare for Investors?

    China’s decision to change the method of setting its currency exchange rate caused global shock waves last week.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares International Select Dividend

    Learn how the iShares International Select Dividend ETF provides investors an opportunity to gain exposure to high-quality companies outside the United States.
  10. Markets

    The Vodka Industry Keeps Growing, But Why?

    Understand what the vodka industry is and where it performs best. Learn about the growth of the industry and three reason why it continues to grow.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Cost, Insurance and Freight - CIF

    A trade term requiring the seller to arrange for the carriage ...
  2. Brazil, Russia, India And China ...

    An acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China ...
  3. International Monetary Fund - IMF

    An international organization created for the purpose of standardizing ...
  4. Inflation

    The rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services ...
  5. Delivered Duty Unpaid - DDU

    A transaction in international trade where the seller is responsible ...
  6. Optimal Currency Area

    The geographic area in which a single currency would create the ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. When has the United States run its largest trade deficits?

    In macroeconomics, balance of trade is one of the leading economic metrics that determines the trading relationship of a ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Which is more important to a nation's economy, the balance of trade or the balance ...

    There is no question the composition of a country's balance of payments is more important than its balance of trade. This ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between cost and freight (CFR) and cost, insurance and freight ...

    The difference between cost and freight (CFR) and cost, insurance and freight (CIF) is essentially the requirement under ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between Cost and Freight (CFR) and Free on Board (FOB)?

    The difference between cost and freight (CFR) and free on board (FOB) lies in who has responsibility for various shipping ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the ethical arguments against government subsidies to companies like Tesla?

    The ethical argument behind government subsidies is that they should be put into place to help industries that will, in turn, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How can tariffs cause inefficiencies in domestic industries?

    Any government regulation naturally creates inefficiencies in a pure supply and demand marketplace. When it comes to the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!