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International trade accounted for 65% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2020, totaling $102.9 billion in goods traded with countries around the world.

In 2014, Russia’s annexation of Crimea contributed to a 30% year-over-year decline in Ukraine’s trade value in 2015 ($75.6 billion). Today, Ukraine’s international trade has been irreversibly disrupted since Russia’s large-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

The current conflict continues to reshape geopolitical relations and international trade – and to give context to the situation, we have created this graphic using IMF and UN Comtrade data to present the main trading partners of Ukraine and the goods traded in 2020.

The biggest trading partners of Ukraine

Ukraine’s largest trading partner in 2020 was China, with the value of trade between the two countries reaching $15.3 billion, more than double the value of any other trading partner.

Germany ($7.4 billion), Poland ($7.4 billion) and Russia ($7.2 billion) were Ukraine’s next three largest trading partners, with the majority of trade in Ukraine with these countries being imports.

The country Trade with Ukraine (2020) Exports from Ukraine (%) Imports to Ukraine (%)
🇨🇳 China $15.3 billion 46% 54%
🇩🇪 Germany $7.4 billion 28% 72%
🇵🇱 Poland $7.4 billion 45% 55%
🇷🇺 Russia $7.2 billion 37% 63%
🇹🇷 Turkey $4.8 billion 50% 50%
🇧🇾 Belarus $4.2 billion 32% 68%
🇮🇹 Italy $4.1 billion 48% 52%
🇺🇸 US $3.9 billion 25% 75%
🇮🇳 India $2.7 billion 73% 27%
🇳🇱 Netherlands $2.6 billion 71% 29%

Source: IMF

While most of Ukraine’s trade with its main trading partners consists of imports, trade with India and the Netherlands (Ukraine’s ninth and tenth trading partners respectively) was more exports, with exports accounting for more than 70% of total trade value.

Main exports and imports of Ukraine

Ukraine’s strong agricultural industry accounts for a significant portion of the country’s exports in the form of grains, animal and vegetable oils, and seed oils. These products accounted for nearly 35% of Ukraine’s exports in 2020, worth $17 billion collectively.

Goods exported from Ukraine (2020) Dollar value Share of exports
Cereals $9.4 billion 19.1%
iron and steel $7.7 billion 15.6%
Animal or vegetable fats, oils and other products $5.8 billion 11.7%
Ores, slag and ash $4.4 billion 8.9%
Electrical machinery and equipment $2.6 billion 5.2%
Other goods $19.4 billion 39.5%

Source: UN Comtrade

The other two cornerstones of Ukrainian industry and exports are iron ore and steel, as well as refined electrical machinery, equipment and other mechanical devices. In 2020, exports of raw iron and steel and their refined products accounted for $13 billion in value, more than a quarter of Ukraine’s exports.

Ukraine’s imports are mainly vehicles, machinery and the fuels needed to power these goods. With the country’s energy consumption exceeding domestic energy production, mineral fuels and oils are Ukraine’s top import in 2020 at $7.42 billion.

Goods imported from Ukraine (2020) Dollar value Share of imports
Mineral fuels, petroleum and mineral products $7.4 billion 13.8%
Boilers, machines and mechanical devices $6.3 billion 11.7%
Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock $5.5 billion 10.2%
Electrical machinery and equipment $5.3 billion 9.9%
Pharmaceutical products $2.5 billion 4.7%
Other goods $26.6 billion 49.7%

Source: UN Comtrade

Importing mainly from Belarus, Russia and Germany, Ukraine’s energy fuel needs have been greatly exacerbated by Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which 80% owned Ukrainian oil and natural gas deposits in the Black Sea.

Various types of machinery, vehicles and electrical equipment are the second largest categories of imported goods, cumulatively accounting for 31% ($17.1 billion) of Ukraine’s imports.

Ukraine moves away from Russian trade dependence

Since its independence from the former USSR in 1991, Ukraine has gradually turned to Western trading partners, especially as conflicts with Russia escalated in the 2010s.

After years of negotiations, Association Agreement of Ukraine with the EU in 2014 facilitated free trade between EU countries and Ukraine, reducing the country’s dependence on trade with Russia.

Ukraine is one of the most important economic centers of the former Soviet Union, and it has long been the breadbasket of the USSR thanks to its fertile land chernozem soil and a strong agricultural industry.

The value of trade between Russia and Ukraine peaked in 2011 at $49.2 billion, and since then has fallen 85% to $7.2 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, European nations like Poland and Germany overtook Russia in terms of the value of trade with Ukraine, and in 2021 trade with the EU totaled more than $58 billion.

The effect of the war on Ukraine’s future trading partners

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is rapidly reshaping the international relations and trading partners of the two countries.

Four days after the start of the recent conflict, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy submitted an application for Ukraine’s special admission to the EU, which would further strengthen Ukraine’s trade with European Union members. Combining the likely collapse of Ukrainian-Russian trade with China’s lack of condemnation of Russia’s actions, Ukraine’s trade looks likely to continue to shift towards the European Union and its Western allies.

Although not exactly international trade, on February 26 the United States began a new $350 million in aid to Ukraine, with U.S. financial assistance to Ukraine totaling $1 billion over the past year. Alongside the United States, the EU has recently committed 500 million euros in financial support, and several EU and non-EU countries provide Ukraine military aid.

Although it is impossible to determine the results of this conflict and its effects on international trade, the countries that support Ukraine’s defense today are likely to become Ukraine’s main trading partners in the future. .