The World Trade Organization (WTO) reports, as of 2003, that the commodities exported in the descending order of their percentage share in overall export trade are as follows: machinery and transport equipment, mining products, office and telecom equipment, chemicals, automotive products, agricultural products, consumer goods, semi-manufactured goods, clothing, iron and steel, and textiles.
According to the World Fact book, countries such as China, Israel, Hungary, Singapore, and Belgium are known to export machinery equipment. For the United States and Japan, automobiles are a popular export. Japan is also currently exporting office machinery. Germany and South Africa produce mining products as exports. Portugal and Bulgaria produce clothing exports, while one of Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s popular exports is textiles.
Also, World Fact book estimates the European Union as having the highest amount of exports, totaling 1.3 trillion US dollars (USD). The United States has the second highest value in exports, with 927.5 billion USD, and China comes in third, exporting 725.2 billion USD in commodities.
A country is known to have a favorable balance of trade when the value of its exports exceeds that of its imports. A favorable balance of trade is considered necessary to aid developing countries in eliminating poverty and hunger. In September 2006, a conference entitled “Bringing the Poor into the Export Process: Linkages and Strategic Implications” was attended by 160 participants from 35 countries and 15 United Nations aid organizations. The conference explored how international trade, specifically exporting goods, could alleviate poverty and improve the overall standard of living in developing countries.
One example of the benefits that an export-focused industry could have upon the lives of those in developing countries is the traditional silk industry in Cambodia. It is a four million dollar exporting business that is estimated to become a ten million dollar industry by 2011. As a result of the industry's success, many poor Cambodian farmers and weavers will be able to improve their living conditions.
Results, however, show that increases in exporting are not a panacea for accelerating development in poor countries. The United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) claims that while overall exports reached 2.3 trillion dollars in 2006, from 12.6 billion dollars in 1980, there has been a decrease in the share of trade by developing countries. One way in which exporting commodities can aid development is by improving the means by which citizens in developing nations produce such goods. For example, fair land reform would serve not only to improve the number of agricultural exports produced by a country, but also to improve the living conditions of the country's farmers. Whether the difference between developed countries and developing countries will be sustained or eliminated is to a certain extent reliant on the state of the balance of trade between the two groups.