Top Milk Exporting Countries 2020

Top Milk Exporting Countries 2020

Lucrative milk exportsMilk exports by country totaled US$29.1 billion in 2020, accelerating in value by 23.9% for all milk shipping nations over the 5-year period starting in 2016 when international milk sales were worth $23.4 billion.

From 2019 to 2020, the value of globally exported milk slipped by -0.9%.

The 5 most valuable suppliers of milk on international markets are New Zealand, Germany, United States, Netherlands and France. Combined, those meaningful milk exporters accounted for over half (54%) of global milk shipments by value in 2020.

From a continental perspective, Europe sold over half (52.2%) of worldwide milk exports. Led by New Zealand, countries in the continent of Oceania placed second at 25.6%. Shippers in North America were responsible for 8.6% of global milk exports ahead of Asia’s milk exporters at 8%. Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean came in at 4.7%, trailed by suppliers in Africa at 0.9%.

There are two major product classifications used for the international trade of milk. The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code prefix is 0401 for milk and cream that is not concentrated nor containing additional sugar or other sweetening matter. For milk and cream that does contain concentrated or containing additional sugar or other sweetening matter, the 4-digit code is 0402.

Unsweetened milk exports under HTS prefix 0401 amounted to $8.8 billion (30.1% of the global total) while sweetened milk items under code 0402 came to $20.3 billion (69.9%).


Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of milk during 2020, encompassing both unsweetened and unsweetened varieties of product.

  1. New Zealand: US$6.5 billion (22.4% of total milk exports)
  2. Germany: $2.9 billion (10.1%)
  3. United States: $2.3 billion (7.9%)
  4. Netherlands: $2.2 billion (7.5%)
  5. France: $1.8 billion (6.2%)
  6. Belgium: $1.5 billion (5.2%)
  7. Australia: $946.4 million (3.3%)
  8. Poland: $833.8 million (2.9%)
  9. Ireland: $774.2 million (2.7%)
  10. United Kingdom: $726 million (2.5%)
  11. Belarus: $597.7 million (2.1%)
  12. Saudi Arabia: $528.8 million (1.8%)
  13. Argentina: $519.3 million (1.8%)
  14. Hong Kong: $514.8 million (1.8%)
  15. Uruguay: $475.1 million (1.6%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped almost four-fifths (79.5%) of worldwide milk exported in 2020.

Among the above meaningful milk suppliers, the fastest-growing countries for exported milk since 2016 were: Ireland (up 147%), Poland (up 65.3%), United States (up 63.3%) and New Zealand (up 49.3%).

A pair of the major countries posted declines in their exported milk sales over the 5-year period, namely Belarus (down -6.9%) and Saudi Arabia (down -4.9%).


The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for milk during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. consequently, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported milk and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. New Zealand: US$6.4 billion (net export surplus up 49.1% since 2016)
  2. United States: $2.1 billion (up 62.9%)
  3. Germany: $1.08 billion (down -4.8%)
  4. France: $1.07 billion (up 43.6%)
  5. Netherlands: $914.2 million (down -4.3%)
  6. Australia: $700 million (down -4.7%)
  7. Belarus: $588.1 million (down -1.7%)
  8. Argentina: $517.5 million (up 48.0%)
  9. Uruguay: $468.2 million (up 24.9%)
  10. Poland: $442.1 million (up 268.5%)
  11. Ireland: $417.7 million (up 609.1%)
  12. Czech Republic: $400.9 million (up 41.9%)
  13. Belgium: $388.7 million (reversing a -$39.5 million deficit in 2016)
  14. United Kingdom: $335.8 million (up 57.1%)
  15. Denmark: $287 million (down -21.4%)

New Zealand has the highest surplus in the international trade of milk. In turn, this positive cashflow proves New Zealand’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.


The following countries posted the severest negative net exports for milk during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. consequently, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported milk purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. China: -US$4.6 billion (net export deficit up 118% since 2016)
  2. Algeria: -$1 billion (up 27.3%)
  3. Italy: -$920.6 billion (down -0.3%)
  4. Nigeria: -$765.7 million (up 107.3%)
  5. Indonesia: -$703.1 million (up 58%)
  6. Mexico: -$698.6 million (up 21.2%)
  7. Philippines: -$602.4 million (up 48%)
  8. Hong Kong: -$520.5 million (down -53.4%)
  9. Russia: -$471.3 million (down -20%)
  10. United Arab Emirates: -$426.4 million (up 32%)
  11. Vietnam: -$390.6 million (up 47.2%)
  12. Saudi Arabia: -$366.4 million (up 37.6%)
  13. Singapore: -$360 million (up 54.9%)
  14. Taiwan: -$351.6 million (up 65%)
  15. Malaysia: -$348.4 million (up 69.7%)

China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of milk. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights strong Chinese competitive disadvantages for this specific product category. This statistical trend also signals opportunities for milk-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful consumer need from the highly populous People’s Republic of China.


Below are global milk-processing companies that represent established players engaged in the international milk trade. Many of these business entities are cooperatives. The home country for each company is shown within parenthesis.

  • Almarai (Saudi Arabia)
  • Arla Foods (Denmark)
  • Borden Milk Products (United States)
  • Canberra Milk (Australia)
  • First Milk (United Kingdom)
  • Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (New Zealand)
  • FrieslandCampina (Netherlands)
  • La Serenísima (Argentina)
  • Lactalis (France)
  • Zott (Germany)


The 100 meaningful exporters of milk obtainable in the following database represent 99.95% of total milk sales on international markets during 2020.

RankSupplierMilk Exports (US$)2016-201.New Zealand$6,496,175,000+49.3%2.Germany$2,929,964,000+14.8%3.United States$2,290,845,000+63.3%4.Netherlands$2,166,238,000+11%5.France$1,807,166,000+20.4%6.Belgium$1,497,730,000+39.2%7.Australia$946,398,000+10.9%8.Poland$833,819,000+65.3%9.Ireland$774,150,000+147%10.United Kingdom$725,997,000+28.9%11.Belarus$597,650,000-6.9%12.Saudi Arabia$528,801,000-4.9%13.Argentina$519,279,000+47.3%14.Hong Kong$514,828,000+3.2%15.Uruguay$475,056,000+25.8%16.Czech Republic$465,353,000+28.2%17.Spain$454,568,000+38.5%18.Denmark$436,271,000-3%19.Austria$425,701,000+13.8%20.Lithuania$263,504,000+57.9%21.Malaysia$245,589,000+9%22.United Arab Emirates$238,758,000-41.7%23.Sweden$210,247,000+7%24.Luxembourg$170,358,000+43.6%25.Finland$163,795,000+55.6%26.Hungary$162,527,000+26.5%27.Thailand$152,968,000+95.2%28.Portugal$146,311,000+11.5%29.Latvia$141,005,000+51.5%30.Singapore$137,168,000+0.4%31.Italy$136,291,000+19.1%32.Slovenia$134,981,000+20.3%33.Canada$122,192,000+142.6%34.South Africa$107,774,000+10.4%35.Estonia$99,090,000+59%36.Costa Rica$92,356,000+7.9%37.Slovakia$90,053,000-6.8%38.Mexico$89,353,000+8.3%39.Peru$75,201,000-25.5%40.Oman$73,387,000-59.2%41.Vietnam$72,600,000+24.4%42.Turkey$72,080,000-31.3%43.Ukraine$67,472,000-14.7%44.Uganda$63,670,000+30.1%45.Russia$55,193,000-4.4%46.Chile$53,490,000-15.4%47.Egypt$43,828,000+29%48.Bosnia/Herzegovina$40,513,000+58.2%49.Brazil$40,231,000-71.6%50.Romania$40,058,000+8.7%51.Nicaragua$39,221,000-25.7%52.Switzerland$38,926,000-21.9%53.China$34,417,000-16.8%54.India$33,733,000-43.9%55.Philippines$32,573,000-61.4%56.South Korea$31,922,000+30.2%57.Indonesia$30,046,000+25.7%58.Kuwait$28,578,000-75.3%59.Kazakhstan$25,490,000+307.7%60.Paraguay$22,711,000+505.1%61.Bolivia$20,578,000-28.3%62.Greece$20,308,000+69.1%63.Japan$19,218,000+52.9%64.Serbia$18,626,000+76.8%65.Croatia$17,813,000+64.9%66.Iran$14,879,000-93.7%67.Kyrgyzstan$13,888,000+121.9%68.Panama$12,980,000+56.4%69.Bulgaria$11,203,000+19.1%70.Pakistan$10,980,000-72.7%71.Honduras$10,728,000+41%72.Ghana$7,202,000+70.7%73.Senegal$7,165,000-3.3%74.Nigeria$6,869,000+2.9%75.Colombia$4,982,000+510.5%76.Norway$4,707,000+23.7%77.North Macedonia$4,225,000+41.3%78.Yemen$3,219,000-11.7%79.Sri Lanka$3,042,000+67.9%80.El Salvador$2,997,000+112.7%81.Togo$2,508,000-86.8%82.Trinidad/Tobago$2,251,000-45.9%83.Zambia$2,235,000+213.5%84.Iceland$1,591,000-29.4%85.Morocco$1,226,000-62.7%86.Lebanon$1,135,000-27.2%87.Zimbabwe$1,109,000+664.8%88.Taiwan$991,000-44.7%89.Jordan$873,000-91.1%90.Rwanda$845,000-68.5%91.Namibia$835,000+788.3%92.Dominican Republic$831,000-81.1%93.Bahrain$749,000-89.9%94.Azerbaijan$710,000-14.4%95.Algeria$693,000+472.7%96.Guatemala$637,000-50.8%97.Niger$540,000-71.1%98.Ecuador$500,000-71%99.Uzbekistan$475,0000%100.Jamaica$442,000+103.7%
You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the columns. The right-most column shows the percentage increase in the value of exported milk from 2016 to 2020. (An entry of 0% in that column method no 2016 data was obtainable.)

See also Top Milk Imports by Country, New Zealand’s Top 10 Exports, Germany’s Top Trading Partners and Wine Exports by Country

Research supplies:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on July 8, 2021

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 8, 2021

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 8, 2021

Wikipedia, Category:Dairy products companies by country. Accessed on July 8, 2021

Wikipedia, Dairy. Accessed on July 8, 2021

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