Mapped: The Top Import for Each Country - The Americas
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The Top Import for Each Country: The Americas

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The Top Import for Each Country: The Americas

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The Briefing

  • Petroleum is the top import across the Americas (Northern America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America)
  • The U.S. is the #1 importer worldwide. In 2018, its total product import value reached $2.4T

The Top Import in Each Country: The Americas

Almost all nations across the globe import goods from other countries. But what types of products are in high demand, and to what degree are these hot commodities exchanged worldwide?

Today’s graphic provides an overview of the top imports across the Americas. For brevity, we’ve excluded regions with an import value below $1 billion.

The Top Imports, by Country

Petroleum is the most popular import across the Americas region. In fact, it’s the top import in 15 of the 22 countries included on this list:

Country / RegionContinentTop ImportImport Value (2018, $B USD)
🇨🇦 CanadaNorthern AmericaVehicles29.4
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaNorthern AmericaVehicles176.8
🇰🇾 Cayman IslandsThe CaribbeanShips3.2
🇧🇸 BahamasThe CaribbeanShips2.1
🇩🇴 Dominican RepublicThe CaribbeanPetroleum1.6
🇱🇨 Saint LuciaThe CaribbeanPetroleum1.2
🇲🇽 MexicoCentral AmericaPetroleum31.3
🇵🇦 PanamaCentral AmericaPetroleum5.6
🇬🇹 GuatemalaCentral AmericaPetroleum2.0
🇨🇷 Costa RicaCentral AmericaPetroleum1.6
🇸🇻 El SalvadorCentral AmericaPetroleum1.1
🇭🇳 HondurasCentral AmericaPetroleum1.2
🇧🇷 BrazilSouth AmericaPetroleum11.7
🇦🇷 ArgentinaSouth AmericaVehicles5.0
🇨🇱 ChileSouth AmericaVehicles4.8
🇻🇪 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)South AmericaPetroleum4.5
🇵🇪 PeruSouth AmericaPetroleum3.5
🇪🇨 EcuadorSouth AmericaPetroleum2.9
🇨🇴 ColombiaSouth AmericaPetroleum2.9
🇺🇾 UruguaySouth AmericaPetroleum2.3
🇬🇾 GuyanaSouth AmericaShips1.5
🇵🇾 ParaguaySouth AmericaPetroleum1.3

Vehicles are the second most popular, ranking as the number one import in four of the 22 countries. Cars are particularly popular in Northern America— they’re the top import in both the U.S. and Canada.

Lastly, ships place third, snagging the top spot in three of the 22 countries. Interestingly, two of these nations are in the Caribbean.

The Top 10 Regions, by Import Value

When looking at which nations import the most of their top product, the U.S. leads the pack.

In 2018, the U.S. imported $176.8 billion worth of foreign vehicles—around $147 billion more than its northern neighbor, Canada:

RegionTop ImportImport Value (2018, $B USD)
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaVehicles176.8
🇨🇦 CanadaVehicles29.4
🇲🇽 MexicoPetroleum31.3
🇧🇷 BrazilPetroleum11.7
🇵🇦 PanamaPetroleum5.6
🇦🇷 ArgentinaVehicles5.0
🇨🇱 ChileVehicles4.8
🇻🇪 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Petroleum4.5
🇵🇪 PeruPetroleum3.5
🇰🇾 Cayman IslandsShips3.2

The U.S. relies heavily on Mexico for its foreign vehicles—it imported over 2 million light vehicles from south of the border in 2018. Manufacturing of vehicles and associated parts makes up nearly 18% of Mexico’s total exports.

Yet, while the U.S. imports a lot of foreign cars, the country exports its fair share of vehicles as well, especially to Canada. In fact, the U.S. is Canada’s top source for imported vehicles.

The high volume of trade between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada is fairly unsurprising, given the trade agreement between the three countries. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect in 1994, Mexico in particular has seen a significant boost in trade activity. In 2018, imports accounted for 39% of Mexico’s GDP—a 21 percentage point rise from 1994.

»To learn more about the top imports worldwide, read our full article Mapped: The World’s Biggest Importers in 2018

Where does this data come from?

Source: BACI, UN Comtrade
Details: BACI is an international trade database, providing information on bilateral trade flows for more than 5000 products and 200 countries. It pulls data directly from the United Nations Statistical Division (UN Comtrade)
Notes: For more information on methodology, visit the CEPII website

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Lorem Ipsum

“Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…”

“There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain…”

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

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It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Where does it come from?

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

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The standard Lorem Ipsum passage, used since the 1500s

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

Section 1.10.32 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum”, written by Cicero in 45 BC

“Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?”

1914 translation by H. Rackham

“But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”

Section 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum”, written by Cicero in 45 BC

“At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.”

1914 translation by H. Rackham

“On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.”


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AWS: Powering the Internet and Amazon’s Profits

Amazon is best known for its sprawling ecommerce empire, but three-quarters of the company’s profits actually come from cloud computing.

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This graphic shows the surge in AWS profits which now represent 74% of Amazon's total profits

The Briefing

  • Cloud computing has become a hugely important element of Amazon’s business
  • In 2021, AWS accounted for 13% of Amazon’s revenue, but clocks in nearly three-quarters of their operating profit

AWS: Powering the Internet and Amazon’s Profits

The Amazon growth story has been a remarkable one so far.

On the top line, the company has grown every single year since its inception. Even in going back to 2004, Amazon generated a much more modest $6.9 billion in revenue compared to the massive $469 billion for 2021.

Most of these sales come from their retail and ecommerce operations, which the company has come to be known for. However, on the bottom line, the source of profit paints a completely different picture. That’s because 74% of Amazon’s operating profit comes from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Here’s a closer look at the financials around Amazon and AWS:

YearAWS Operating Profit ($B)Total Operating Profit ($B)AWS % of Operating ProfitRevenue ($B)
2021$18.5$24.874%$469.8
2020$13.5$22.959%$386.1
2019$9.2$14.563%$280.5
2018$7.2$12.458%$232.8

Ultimately, the data suggests that the cloud business has been, and possibly will always remain, a higher margin business and consistent profit center in comparison to ecommerce and the physical distribution of goods.

A Glance at AWS

AWS is Amazon’s cloud computing service that provides the critical infrastructure for an assortment of applications like data storage and networking. With this, they help fuel over a million organizations including businesses like Twitter and Netflix and even both the U.S. and Canadian Federal Governments.

Here are some other notable entities and the monthly payments they’ve made towards AWS:

AWS CustomerMonthly Payments ($M)
Netflix$19
Twitch$15
LinkedIn$13
Facebook$11
Turner Broadcasting$10
BBC$9
Baidu$9
ESPN$8
Adobe$8
Twitter$7

Source: Continho (2020)

Based on these monthly figures from 2020, AWS collects $1.3 billion in sales a year just from these 10 customers, while raking in $62 billion of revenue overall. Moreover, this makes them the leader in the competitive cloud market.

Chart showing the market share of cloud computing companies as of 2021. AWS leads at 33%

In an industry worth an excess of $180 billion, Amazon’s 33% market share position exceeds both Google and Microsoft (Azure) combined. Their market share also surpasses the bottom six shown on the chart combined, who are formidable tech giants in their own right.

The Future of AWS?

AWS has been a cash cow for years and there have even been rumors of an Amazon split up, where AWS would spin off as its own entity. It’s believed by some that if the cloud segment of the business separates, it will be seen as a pure play on the cloud industry and will be awarded a higher valuation multiple by the market.

One thing is for sure, from the perspective of profits, Amazon could be better be described as a cloud company, with an ecommerce business on the side.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Amazon SEC Filings
Notes: Operating profit is the profit from the business before the deduction of non-operating expenses like interest and taxes.

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