Trade Profile

flag Central African Republic Central African Republic: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Traditionally, the Central African Republic (CAR) is highly favorable to international trade. International trade represented 45% of the country's GDP in 2021 (World Bank). However, the country's protectionist policies limited its openness and customs duties are relatively high. In addition, certain agricultural products benefit from higher tariff protections. Despite easy access to its internal market, the CAR does not grant preferential tariffs to other countries. CAR is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The country mainly exports gold (45.25% of total exports), diamonds (19.88%), vehicles (12.64%), wood (12.35%) and machinery (3.4%). CAR's main imports comprise electrical equipment (19.68% of total imports), medicines (8.64%), furniture (6.33%), mineral fuels (6.11%), and machinery (5.72%) (International Trade Centre, 2021). CAR's main customers are the United Arab Emirates (47.6% of total imports), Italy (14.9%), France (11.1%), China (6.2%) and Mauritania (4.3%). Its main suppliers are Cameroon (34.4% of total imports), China (10.5%), France (10%), Nigeria (5%) and India (4.8%) (International Trade Centre, 2021). Security issues have a major impact on trade, as illustrated by the three-month closure of the Bangui-Douala corridor early 2021.

CAR's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend which should continue in the years to come. In 2021, CAR exported USD 162 million in goods and imported USD 590 million. In 2018, exports of services reached USD 52 million, while imports amounted to USD 394 million (WTO). In 2021, imports of goods and services decreased by 10% compared to 2020, while exports decreased by 6% (World Bank). After decreasing in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and supply chain disruptions, global trade volumes recovered. Since 2022, exports are boosted by surging prices and increased demand for wood; while imports are driven by higher oil prices (Coface).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 606613506451496
Exports of Goods (million USD) 164148134130143
Imports of Services (million USD) 39746935400
Exports of Services (million USD) 24035729100
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -551-107
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -522-3-6-7
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 5050504546
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3434343033
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 1616151413

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

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United Arab Emirates 40.9%
Pakistan 19.8%
Italy 12.6%
France 9.0%
Cameroon 7.2%
See More Countries 10.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Cameroon 40.2%
United States 9.7%
France 8.1%
China 7.9%
Belgium 3.4%
See More Countries 30.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.1 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 44.4%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 14.1%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 12.2%
Electrical machines and apparatus, having...Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, n.e.s. in chapter 85 and parts thereof 7.0%
Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles,...Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, motorised, whether or not fitted with weapons, and parts of such vehicles, n.e.s. 6.6%
See More Products 15.8%
0.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Engines and motors (excl. steam turbines, internal...Engines and motors (excl. steam turbines, internal combustion piston engine, hydraulic turbines, water wheels, gas turbines and electric motors); parts thereof 12.0%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 6.7%
Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes...Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes"; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 6.3%
Prefabricated buildings, whether or not complete...Prefabricated buildings, whether or not complete or already assembled 4.8%
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 4.1%
See More Products 66.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows

 

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of African Union (AU)

Member of Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)

Member of Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) (in French)

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country’s commercial policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
18.13%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
Member of African Union (AU)

Member of Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)

Member of Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) (in French)

Useful Resources
 
 
 

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Latest Update: December 2023