Cashew nuts in shell, fresh or dried (HS 080131), are unprocessed and also called raw cashew nuts.Cashew nuts without shell, fresh or dried (HS 080132). The shell of the raw cashew nuts is removed after boiling and drying. The processed cashew nuts are also called kernels.
The world market for cashew nuts represented almost USD 3 billion in 2008. World imports for processed cashew nuts (without shell) are more than two times larger than for raw cashew nuts (in shell): USD 1.9 billion compared to USD 0.9 billion. Though smaller, the world market for raw cashew nuts was more dynamic than the market for processed cashew nuts (Table 2). It seems that even though transportation costs suggest a processing relatively near to the cultivation site, cashew nuts are increasingly traded in unprocessed form, as processing requires economies of scale and specific competitive advantages.
Only the smaller part of world production of cashew nuts is traded internationally. The sum of world imports of raw cashew nuts (728,000 tons) and processed cashew nuts (362,000 tons), almost 1.1 million tons, may include double-counting and thus overestimate trade, but this accounts for less than 30% of total world production (3.7 million tons).