Who has dominated global merchandise exports for one hundred and fifty years?

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The Canadian site Visual Capitalist, created in 2011, offers infographics on topics such as technology, energy, the global economy, etc. This, published on January 17, is based on data from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It shows how the share of global exports for some of the biggest powers has evolved over the last 150 years. “The world’s largest economies have also always dominated international trade,” the site points out.

In the 19th century, the United Kingdom (with its colonies) was one of the richest economies. With a third of its population employed in factories, it was the most industrialized country. The goods he produced were sent all over the world, and he dominated the global export market. It must also be said that India was an integral part of the British Empire, representing a significant part of its exports until the end of the century.

German consistency

British exports, which accounted for more than 24% of the total in 1870, were drastically reduced after the two world wars. In 2022, they represented only 2.2% of the total.

Just behind the British Empire in 1870, with 13.4% of world exports, Germany managed to maintain a leading position. In 2022, although the country only represented 6.8% of global exports, it was in third position behind China and the United States. Two countries which, unlike the United Kingdom and Germany, have gained market share over the last hundred and fifty years.

But it is especially since the beginning of the 2000s that China, which has become “the factory of the world”, has been gaining ground. In 2022, it accounted for nearly 15% of global exports, making it the leader in this field.

This article is originally published on courrierinternational.com

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