Trade Profile

flag Nicaragua Nicaragua: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

According to the World Bank, trade represented 106% of Nicaragua's GDP in 2021. A member of the WTO since 1995, Nicaragua's trade policy reflects its efforts to integrate into the global economy, as well as to diversify its exports to have access to larger markets. Nicaragua's main exports include gold (13.4%), t-shirts (11%), insulated enamelled or anodised wires (9.1%), coffee (7.8%), and meat of bovine animals (5.7%). On the other hand, imports include petroleum oils (16.7%), knitted or crocheted fabrics (4.5%), t-shirts (4.1%), medicaments (4%), and insulated enamelled or anodised wires (2.3%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by an estimated 2.3% in 2022 and is expected to increase by 2.1% in 2023, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by an estimated 8.1% in 2022 and is expected to increase by 2.6% in 2023.

Nicaragua's main trade partners are the United States, Mexico, China, the Netherlands, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica. The Government of Nicaragua has recently made reforms to its free zone regime to promote international trade. The country has few customs duties and non-tariff barriers. The highest tariffs are imposed on items such as tobacco, alcohol and agricultural products (corn and rice). Nicaragua benefits from a free trade agreement between the United States and Central America (CAFTA) as well as a free trade agreement between the European Union and Central America, mostly focused on agricultural products.

Nicaragua's trade balance is structurally negative - reaching USD 1.8 billion in 2021 - a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years. Imports of goods and services represented 59% of GDP in 2021, while exports stood at 47% of GDP. In 2021, the country imported USD 9.8 billion worth of goods, while it exported USD 6.4 billion. Concerning the trade of services, Nicaragua is a net exporter and, according to the latest available data, the country imported USD 855 million worth of services in 2021, while exports totalled USD 1 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7,3516,8376,37710,16611,247
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5,0145,2725,0876,4957,360
Imports of Services (million USD) 9538556138671,113
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,3641,3739461,0441,560
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -15-40215
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -26-9189
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,604-1,056-943-1,901-2,791
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 949489107115
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5249476065
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4245424750

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

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 52.3%
Mexico 12.9%
Honduras 7.3%
El Salvador 5.9%
Costa Rica 3.1%
See More Countries 18.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
United States 26.9%
China 12.3%
Honduras 9.1%
Mexico 8.9%
Guatemala 7.4%
See More Countries 35.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

7.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or...T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 12.9%
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 12.6%
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 9.7%
Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire,...Insulated "incl. enamelled or anodised" wire, cable "incl. coaxial cable" and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 9.7%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of...Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 5.5%
See More Products 49.6%
11.3 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 9.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.7%
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or...T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 5.1%
Fabrics, knitted or crocheted, of a width of > 30...Fabrics, knitted or crocheted, of a width of > 30 cm (excl. warp knit fabrics "incl. those made on galloon knitting machines", those containing by weight >= 5% of elastomeric yarn or rubber thread, and pile fabrics, incl. "long pile", looped pile fabrics, labels, badges and similar articles, and knitted or crocheted fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated) 4.2%
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) 3.8%
See More Products 71.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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 the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of Free Trade Area of Americas (FTAA)

Member of Central American Four (CA-4)

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country's commercial policy
Barriers to exchanges
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
5.82%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Free Trade Area of Americas (FTAA)

Member of Central American Four (CA-4)

Useful Resources
General Directorate of Custom Services (Spanish)
 
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2023