DEFINITION of 'Net Importer'

A country or territory whose value of imported goods is higher than its value of exported goods over a given period of time.

A net importer is the opposite of a net exporter.

BREAKING DOWN 'Net Importer'

For example, Japan is one of the most industrialized nations in the world, but the bulk of the oil it requires is imported from other countries. Therefore, Japan is considered to be a net importer of oil. It is important to note that a country can be a net importer in a certain area, while being a net exporter in other areas. For example, Japan exports more technological devices than it imports, which makes Japan a net exporter in this area of the economy.

A country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative balance of trade.

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