Trade Profile

flag Bahamas Bahamas: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Bahamas is very open to trade, which represents 80% of its GDP (World Bank). However, the country aims to reduce its dependence on a single sector and to further develop its foreign trade, so the Government is actively pursuing a policy of diversification and liberalisation of its economy. The Bahamas is not part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and abstains from offering export subsidies, participating in trade-distorting practices, or enforcing local content requirements. According to data by Comtrade, the country’s main exports in 2022 were petroleum oils (28%), unused postage, revenue, or similar stamps (19.1%), crustaceans (16.4%), polymers of styrene (5%), and salts (4.7%); whereas imports were led by petroleum oils (15.4%), motor cars (2.8%), furniture and parts thereof (2%), meat (1.5%), undenatured ethyl alcohol (1.4%).

The Bahamas maintains close economic and political ties with the United States, which is by far its largest trade partner, both in terms of trade and investment. In 2022, the main export destinations were the United States (63.6%) and France (3.1%), with imports coming chiefly from the United States (85%), China (1.9%), Spain (0.9%), and Japan (0.9% - data Comtrade). The Bahamas participates in a number of trade agreements, including the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Caribbean-Canada Free Trade Agreement (CARICOM), and is working towards joining the WTO. The Bahamas – along with 14 more Caribbean countries – signed with the EU the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, aimed at making it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest in and trade with each other, and thus to help Caribbean countries grow their economies and create jobs. The agreement also comes with substantial EU aid for trade.

Most of the country's industries are concentrated in Freeport, the second biggest city after Nassau, where a free trade zone has been operational since 1955. Due to low domestic production and high demand drawn by tourism, the Bahamas is very dependent on imports. The country's trade balance is structurally negative, a situation which should continue in the coming years. According to the latest available data from the WTO, in 2022, imports of goods totalled USD 3.7 billion, while exports equalled USD 838 million. However, the country is a net service exporter thanks to its tourism industry: in 2022, exports reached USD 3.6 billion against USD 1.9 billion in imports. In the same year, the World Bank estimated the country’s trade deficit at 5.1% of GDP, down from 10.2% one year earlier.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 3,0092,2053,4833,7584,188
Exports of Goods (million USD) 695335543610708
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,8301,3871,6831,9442,174
Exports of Services (million USD) 4,4691,2572,6913,9064,784
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -4-27102n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1-462340n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -2,314-1,631-2,632n/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 72596880n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 37343943n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 36252938n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 63.6%
France 3.1%
United Kingdom 0.8%
Sweden 0.4%
Canada 0.1%
See More Countries 32.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
United States 85.0%
China 1.9%
Spain 0.9%
Japan 0.9%
Canada 0.7%
See More Countries 10.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.6 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 28.0%
Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps of...Unused postage, revenue or similar stamps of current or new issue in the country in which they have, or will have, a recognised face value; stamp-impressed paper; banknotes; cheque forms; stock, share or bond certificates and similar documents of title 19.1%
Crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh,...Crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine, even smoked, incl. crustaceans in shell cooked by steaming or by boiling in water; flours, meals and pellets of crustaceans, fit for human consumption 16.4%
Polymers of styrene, in primary formsPolymers of styrene, in primary forms 5.0%
Salts, incl. table salt and denatured salt, and...Salts, incl. table salt and denatured salt, and pure sodium chloride, whether or not in aqueous solution or containing added anti-caking or free-flowing agents; sea water 4.7%
See More Products 26.8%
3.8 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 15.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.8%
Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats...Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats and medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture) 2.0%
Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species...Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species gallus domesticus, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, fresh, chilled or frozen 1.5%
Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of...Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal (excl. articles > 100 years old) 1.5%
See More Products 76.9%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Member of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Member of Association of Caribbean States (ACS)

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Bahamas and WTO
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
30.58%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Economic Cooperation
Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Member of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Member of Association of Caribbean States (ACS)

Useful Resources
Bahamas Customs Department
 
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2024