Extraordinary exports from eastern Europe

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Since emerging from behind the Iron Curtain at the end of the 20th Century, eastern Europe has firmly established itself on the global trade stage. It currently supplies the world with cars, vehicle parts, video displays, computers and vital raw materials.

With the help of the Observatory of Economic Complexity's database (OEC), CNBC looks at the popular goods that keep eastern Europe trading.

By Alexandra Gibbs, special to CNBC.com


Sunflower Seeds (Bulgaria)

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As well as being used in food—as oil and a snack—sunflower seeds are also used in the health and beauty sector.

Bulgaria exported 13.2 percent of the world's supply of sunflower seeds at an approximate value of $465 million in 2012.

Turkey and Spain are great lovers of the product, each importing around 10 percent of the world's sunflower seed export supply.

Frozen fruits and nuts (Poland)

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Poland was the world's biggest exporter of frozen fruits and nuts in 2012. It exported around 14 percent of global supply, at a value of $562 million.

The U.S. and Germany each import 16 percent of these frozen goods, which include cranberries and raspberries. Both countries pay around $625 million for the produce—almost double the amount spent by the third-biggest importer, France.

Timber (Russia)

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It might have been used for thousands of years in construction and engineering, but wood remains a fundamental resource in today's building and furniture industry.

Russia is the world's leading exporter of timber, with rough wood exports worth $1.55 billion in 2012, accounting for 12 percent of global supply. The country's sawn wood exports make up 14 percent of the world's supply and are worth $3.4 billion.

China is the biggest importer of both products, spending at least $4.8 billion on each.

Seed oils (Ukraine)

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While Russia and Saudi Arabia are the dominant exporters of crude oil, they don't win the top spot when it comes to seed oils such as sunflower, almond, coconut and canola oil – all essential cooking ingredients.

Ukraine beats Russia to the top when it comes to exporting seed oils. It accounted for almost 35 percent of world exports, worth $3.95 billion, in 2012, compared with Russia's $1.66 billion export value.


Razor Blades (Poland)

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How could mankind maintain its beauty regime without razor blades? Rest assured, Poland is working hard to keep the world well supplied.

In 2012, Poland exported one fifth of the world's supply of razor blades, worth almost $1 billion. As companies like Gillette and Schick are head-quartered in the U.S, it's no surprise that the country imports one in 10 of the world's razor blades, at a cost of $488.4 million.


Vehicle Chassis (Slovakia)

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Just over one fifth of vehicle bodies exported worldwide are from Slovakia, which generated an export value of $2.25 billion in 2012.

Russia and Germany are the top importers, spending $2.9 billion and $1.9. billion on the products respectively.

Apples (Poland)

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In the 2012-2013 apple growing season, Poland knocked China off the top spot, exporting 438 million euros ($547.8 million) worth of apples over the period, according to the news site Polskie Radio.

The website added that Russia was the biggest fan of Polish apples, importing 57 percent of the country's export supply. However the country's apple industry has been hit hard this year as a result of the sanctions imposed on its biggest customer.


Rye (Poland)

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Poland exports just under a fifth of the world's rye – which is found in bread, crackers, chips and alcohol. Its exports are worth $81 million, and the top importers are Germany and Spain.

Strangely enough, as well as being the top importer of Rye, Germany is the world's second-largest exporter of rye, contributing 17 percent to the world's rye exports.