Basis of Calculation

Basis of Calculation for Export Potential

The Export Potential Map identifies products, markets and suppliers with (untapped) export potential as well as opportunities for export diversification for 226 countries and territories and 6,361 products. It evaluates export performance, the target market's demand and market access conditions as well as bilateral links between the exporting country and target market to provide a unique ranking of untapped opportunities.

What is measured?

The Market Potential identifies the potential export value for any exporter in a given product and target market based on an economic model that combines the exporter's supply with the target market's demand, market access conditions and the bilateral links between the two countries. For existing export products, supply is measured through historical information on export performance. Potential export values can be compared with actual export values to find exporters, products and markets with room for growth.
In short, the untapped potential is export potential minus the actual exports.

Export Potential Indicator

Potential export value of product k supplied by country i to market j, in dollars, is calculated as supply × demand (corrected for market access) × bilateral ease of trade. Supply and demand are projected into the future based on GDP and population forecasts, demand elasticities and forward-looking tariffs. The estimated dollar value serves as a benchmark for comparison with actual exports and should not be interpreted as a ceiling value. In reality, the actual trade value may be below or above the potential value.



The value of actual exports is calculated as an arithmetic average of direct and mirror data of reliable reporters over the past five years. Actual exports to a region, including to the world as a whole, only include exports to markets where the country has export potential.


This value captures the extent to which the export potential has already been utilized for this product, market or supplier. At the most disaggregated level, by country, product and market, the realized potential corresponds to the potential to actual exports gap (in % terms) whenever potential > actual exports and to 100% whenever potential < actual exports.


This is the extent to which potential exports deviate from actual exports. Actual exports may be higher or lower than the expected potential value. When actual exports exceed potential exports, this can be driven by an exporter’s exceptional export performance in some markets while neglecting others. Conversely, the untapped potential value signals room for export growth if frictions, for example in the form of regulations or buyer-seller mismatches, can be overcome.

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