Trade Profile

flag Nicaragua Nicaragua: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

According to the World Bank’s latest figures, trade represents around 115% of Nicaragua's GDP. A member of the WTO since 1995, the country’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 T-shirts, singlets, and other vests (12.9%), gold (12.6%), coffee (9.7%), insulated wires (9.7%), cigars, cheroots, cigarillos, and cigarettes (5.5%), whereas imports are led by petroleum oils (15.1%), T-shirts, singlets, and other vests (5.1%), fabrics (4.2%), and medicaments (3.8% - data Comtrade 2022).

Nicaragua’s main export partners in 2022 were the United States (52.3%), Mexico (12.9%), Honduras (7.3%), El Salvador (5.9%), Costa Rica (3.1%), and Guatemala (2.9%). The U.S. was also the main source of imports (26.9% of the total), followed by China (12.3%), Honduras (9.1%), Mexico (8.9%), Guatemala (7.4%), Costa Rica (5%). 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. In 2022, exports reached USD 7.3 billion against USD 11.2 billion in imports (+13.3% and +10.6% y-o-y, respectively). Concerning the trade of services, Nicaragua is a net exporter and, according to the latest available data from WTO, the country imported USD 1.1 billion worth of services in 2022, while exports totaled USD 1.5 billion. The overall trade balance was estimated at 15.6% of GDP in the same year (World Bank). As per the Banco Central de Nicaragua (BCN), in 2023, total exports reached USD 7,543.3 million, marking a 2.4% decline compared to the previous year. This drop was primarily due to an 8.9% decrease in free zone exports, partially offset by a 4% increase in merchandise exports. Growth in merchandise exports was fueled by higher exports from the mining sector (22.4%) and manufacturing sector (0.9%), although this was mitigated by declines in the fisheries (-9.7%) and agricultural (-5.3%) sectors. Meanwhile, the reduction in free trade zone exports was attributed to reduced placements of textile products (-15.2%), machined fishery products (-30.2%), African palm oil (-38.5%), among others. Total FOB imports amounted to USD 9,997.5 million in 2023, reflecting a 1.3% year-on-year decrease, driven by an 18.9% decrease in free zone imports, which overshadowed the 5.6% increase in merchandise imports.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 6,8376,37710,16611,24710,916
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5,2725,0876,4957,3607,378
Imports of Services (million USD) 8556138671,1131,115
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,3739461,0441,5601,552
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -40215n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 6-9189n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,056-943-1,901-2,791n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 9489107115n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 49476065n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 45424750n/a

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

Return to top

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2023
United States 50.2%
Mexico 13.7%
El Salvador 6.5%
Canada 5.8%
Honduras 5.0%
See More Countries 18.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2023
United States 24.8%
China 12.7%
Mexico 9.4%
Honduras 9.2%
Guatemala 7.8%
See More Countries 36.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

Return to top

 

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

Return to top

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)
 
 
 

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2024