Trade Profile

flag Bahamas Bahamas: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Bahamas is very open to trade, which represents 70% of its GDP.  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. In spite of its high custom duties, complex rules and regulations on imports, the country has a liberal trade policy. The Bahamas mainly imports petroleum oils (17.1%), motor cars (4.1%), furniture (1.9%), meat (1.4%), and medicaments (1.3%). Its main exports are petroleum oils (28.4%), styrene polymers (16.6%), crustaceans (9.6%), carpets (8.5%), and yachts (5.4%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 32.9% in 2022 and is expected to continue increasing in 2023, when that rate should reach 17.1%. As for imports, the volume of imports of goods and services decreased by 3.2% in 2022 and is expected to increase to 12.6% in 2023.

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. The country's main partners besides the United States, are France, Turks and Caicos, Canada, China, and Japan. 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 and the World Bank, in 2021, imports of goods totalled USD 3,2 billion, while exports equalled USD 565 million, resulting on a negative balance of USD 2,6 billion. Concerning the trade of services, the Bahamas imported USD 1,6 billion and exported USD 2,9 billion, resulting on a negative balance of USD 1,7 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 3,3173,0092,0243,2643,754
Exports of Goods (million USD) 642695431639838
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,7991,8301,3871,6831,965
Exports of Services (million USD) 4,1104,4691,2572,5923,666
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -2-4-27102
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 121-462340
Trade Balance (million USD) -2,675-2,314-1,631-2,632n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 7672596880
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4037343943
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3636252938

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%
Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength...Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength of < 80%; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages (excl. compound alcoholic preparations of a kind used for the manufacture of beverages) 1.4%
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: November 2023