Trade Profile

flag Marshall Islands Marshall Islands: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Marshall Islands is very open to foreign trade, which accounts for 116% of  its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Custom duties are relatively low, and the country has very few trade barriers. However, the Marshall Islands has very limited natural resources and consequently little base for exports. In 2021 (latest data available - International Trade Centre), the country mainly exported ships (90%); fish (5.8%); mineral fuels (1.5%); and electrical machinery (1.3%); whereas imports were led by ships (56.7%); mineral fuels (25.8%); machinery (11.4%); and iron and steel (3%).

According to the latest data by ITC, in 2021, the main destinations for the country’s exports were Denmark (33.6%), South Korea (20.1%), Germany (14.7%), Poland (9.2%), and Cyprus (3.7%); while the main countries for imports were Singapore (25.2%), South Korea (24.3%), China (22.4%), Japan (8.5%), and Cyprus (2.1%). Overall, the country lacks adequate infrastructure and airline transportation and is fairly far from the developed economies of the region (e.g. Japan, Australia, etc.). Trade policy is conducted by the COFA Agreement under which the country has duty-free access to the U.S. market, and is also a member of the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA).

The country imports in high volumes, while its exports are very weak, resulting in an enormous trade deficit. According to figures from ITC, in 2021 the Marshall Islands exported USD 1.4 billion worth of goods (up by 85% year-on-year), whereas imports decreased by 5% (to USD 14.2 billion). Data from the World Bank show that the country's external trade deficit stood at 23.1% of GDP in 2021, down from 37.4% one year earlier.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7568748194
Exports of Goods (million USD) 4155449093
Imports of Services (million USD) 6667474043
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 236-29-8n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 612-523n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -331410-12n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 129152108116n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 891157370n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 40373647n/a

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

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To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows

 
 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
0.1
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Economic Cooperation
Member of Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Useful Resources
 
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2023