Trade Profile

flag Liberia Liberia: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Liberia has an open economy and is very favourable to trade, which represents 127% of the country's GDP (World Bank, latest data). Custom duties are not too high, ranging from 2.5% to 25%. However, there are still certain difficulties in the development of trade, such as the requirement of a certificate of inspection before shipment, a limited access to private credit and purchasing power as well as a lack of infrastructure. In 2016, Liberia finally joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is expected to lead to a standardisation of the country’s trade and investment laws and regulations, in line with internationally acceptable norms. The country also signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, and is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Liberia mainly exports rubber (70% of total exports), fats (14%), cocoa (4%), wood, mineral fuels and machinery. The country mainly imports mineral fuels (19% of total imports), cereals (13.5%), vehicles (10%), machinery (8%), plastics, medicines and food (ITC, 2021).

Liberia's main export partners are the United States (43% of total exports), Belgium (17%), Singapore (7%), Malaysia (6%) and India (6%). Liberia’s main suppliers are India (19% of total imports), Ivory Coast (18%), China (13%), Turkey (7%) and the United States (6%) (ITC, 2021). Demand for Liberia’s commodity exports could be reduced by a slowdown in the advanced economies or in China, due to recent trade tensions.

The country's trade balance is structurally negative, but the trade deficit was decreasing in recent years, in particular due to the decline in imports induced by the sharp downward trend of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar. The trade deficit is partially offset by remittances from Liberian expatriates. In 2021, Liberia imported USD 1.478 billion worth of goods and exported USD 879 million. Imports of services amounted to USD 202 million, while exports reached USD 4 million (WTO). Exports are expected to increase due to gold production and the recovery in commodity prices, but trade deficit is expected to remain at the same level, due to higher prices of imported goods including oil (Coface).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 1,0891,1438691,1021,478
Exports of Goods (million USD) 358548543608879
Imports of Services (million USD) 217200217224288
Exports of Services (million USD) 211011104
Trade Balance (million USD) -630-524-391n/an/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - 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 African Union (AU)

Member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Liberia and WTO
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Member of African Union (AU)

Member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Useful Resources

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Latest Update: September 2023