Following up on my post on the Balkans and the international trade network, the image below is a graphical representation of the export profile of the Balkan states and Turkey (as a bonus!) in 2011, based on Eurostat data. If we know the main trade bloc the Balkans trade with, it is useful to know what the Balkan states export, and how the export profile of the states differ from one another.
The graph shows interesting specializations in exports, suggesting that, with the exception of a few shared commodities, mainly mineral extracts like iron, copper, lead, zinc and related metals, the Balkan states differ significantly in terms of their specializations in manufactured goods.
This, of course, partly reflects the inherited division of industrial labor which developed in the region at a time when six of these states were part of a single economic union (the Yugoslav federation).
Croatia is the region’s top exporter of manufactured goods, which include machinery (owing to Croatia’s shipbuilding industry), followed by Serbia, which also exports a number of industrial products (including weapons and auto parts). Serbia is also a large exporter of agricultural goods and processed food, and is the largest in the region in that category. Croatia’s export base is highly diversified, meaning that it exports a wide variety of goods.
By contrast, the export profiles of the other states are relatively weaker. Albania, Macedonia and Bosnia mainly export non-agricultural commodities (metals, including scrap), with the exception of a small number of labor-intensive goods such as clothing and apparel (Macedonia), footwear (Albania) and furniture (Bosnia). The export-oriented consumer goods industries in Albania and Macedonia are mainly of the offshoring type, producing for Italian and Greek brands. (As of now I know little of Bosnia’s furniture industry.) Albania also exports oil, a resource which the other states possess less of. The worst export profile is that of Kosovo, which exports few manufactured goods, and mainly commodities, including scrap metal which is one of its top exports.
Turkey’s exports are much more varied. Turkey’s inclusion here is mainly because it happened to be covered by the data I was using (Eurostat). Turkey is also a large exporter by volume, which the graph obscures and makes its inclusion among this group of states more than a little inappropriate. Turkey’s exports are nearly four times larger than the Balkan states listed here combined.
Top three exports by type, 2011.