10 Things You Didn't Know Other Countries Get from the U.S

Discover random foods and other items that are hot commodities overseasBy Noelia Trujillo

America is more than just the land of the free and the home of the brave. To nations around the world, it's a source of essentials that only a country with rich soil, a temperate climate and mighty manufacturers can provide. Read on to learn which of the Land of Liberty's items are most wanted abroad. Photo by Thinkstock

1. Sunflower Seeds to Spain

The cheery yellow blossoms are native to North America. North Dakota, with its cool soil, consistent sunshine and ample planting acreage, leads the world in the flower's production. While the Spanish government encourages sunflower growth, the country's droughts result in an insufficient supply of the crop. Spaniards use the imported sunflower kernels and seeds as roasted and salted snacks, in bread and in sweets.

2. Pet Food to Canada

After American James Spratt created the world's first dog treat in the 19 th century, the U.S. has been churning out puppy chow and topping the global charts on pet food production. In fact, in 2012, Canada's top three cat and dog food providers, including Nestle Purina Petcare, were American companies.

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3. Hay to Japan

California, Washington and Oregon offer the ideal mix of precipitation, warm temperatures and soil quality for hay growth. And Japan has taken notice. About half of U.S. hay shipments goes to the Asian country. Dairy farmers are the primary users, although a research project showed that other Japanese need it to fill feed shortages after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

4. Soybeans to Indonesia

Since Tempeh, a protein-packed snack created from cooking, fermenting and forming soybeans into a patty, is an Indonesian staple, soybean need is high. But the Southeast Asian nation lacks the farmland to meet demand, causing them to rely heavily on soybean imports. The crop thrives in the Midwest's weather and soil, and the U.S. can sell the beans for a low price.

5. Sheep to Mexico

The demand for lamb in the U.S. is low, but the opposite is true for our neighbors to the south. They serve up chuleta de cordero, or lamb chops, and mixiotes de carnero, or steamed, leaf-wrapped bundles of marinated lamb. While some Mexican farmers breed and raise their own sheep, there aren't enough to satiate the lamb-loving country. Much of their meat comes from American-born sheep.

Related: Discover 50 surprising foods under 100 calories.

6. Craft Beers in Sweden

The good ol' Vikings left poems and scriptures that lead many to believe that Sweden is a brew-master. In recent years, though, the U.S. began the Export Development Program, exposing domestic craft beers worldwide at festivals, trade shows and more. As a result, the Swedes opened their arms-and bars-to new, bold American flavors.

7. Sun Umbrellas to the Bahamas

Many little islands and a whole lot of sunshine! No wonder this Caribbean country could use some help blocking rays. While China dominates the market on umbrella production, the U.S. also makes plenty. And since the Asian nation is much farther away, the shipping costs to the Bahamas are lower from this side of the world. That's why more than half of the Bahamas' sun umbrella imports are American.

8. Raisins to the United Kingdom

With sunny summers and mild winters, the U.S. has the perfect climate for grape growing-and other countries know it. The U.K. doesn't produce enough of the fruit to meet national demand-raisins pop up in British health foods, cereals, baked goods and chocolate treats, like the popular Paynes Poppets. The former colonies to the rescue!

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9. Corn to China

The U.S. takes the gold in corn production, export and trade. We make so much of it, that 15% is shipped overseas. China can't produce it as cheaply as our nation can, but they need it for feed, starch, sweeteners, alcohols and other industrial and cooking products. That's where we come in.

10. Wheat to Venezuela

Move over, Italy. This Latin American country eats more pasta than most other nations. To make noodles, they need soft wheat flour, but the humid Venezuelan weather doesn't permit cereal grain growth; it requires a drier, milder climate, which the U.S. has.

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