Suriname is highly dependent on foreign trade, which represents 102% of the country's GDP. Suriname's heavy reliance on the extractive sector (over three quarters of Suriname's exports) render its trade especially vulnerable to global commodity prices. The country's main exports include gold (78.4%), wood (5%), refined petroleum (3.8%), frozen fish (1.9%), and rolled tobacco (1.7%), while imports include motor vehicles (18.2%), refined petroleum (7.7%), rolled tobacco (1.4%), iron products (1.4%), and plastic pipes (1.3%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by an estimated 9.1% in 2022 and is expected to increase by 2.7% in 2023, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by an estimated 2.6% in 2022 and is expected to increase by 0.7% in 2023.
Suriname's main trade partners include Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the Netherlands, China, Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, and Japan. The country is a member of the WTO, CARICOM, and CARIFORUM, and has trade agreements with Brazil, Venezuela, and Costa Rica. Customs duties and non-tariff barriers are moderate at a 10.8% average applied tariff. The implementation of a new investment code and legislation on the protection of intellectual property are factors that encourage the development of trade. Nevertheless, inadequate technical capabilities and the State interference in the country’s economy limit trade. The trade licensing system is also outdated and extremely time-consuming. The banana industry has been revamped, but import tax reforms established by the European Union tend to favour Ecuador's and Colombia's banana exports over Suriname's.
Unlike many countries in the region, Suriname had a trade surplus of USD 865 million in 2021, as exports of goods closed at USD 1.5 billion and imports trailed at USD 1.3 billion. Additionally, over the last five years, exports have been consistently increasing, while imports have been decreasing - a trade that is expected to continue in the coming years. Concerning the trade of services, Suriname is a net importer: exports amounted to USD 96 million in 2021, while imports were equal to USD 640 million.
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||1,363||1,486||1,702||1,329||1,381|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||2,035||2,070||2,127||2,345||1,513|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||513||664||807||559||640|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||134||163||152||97||96|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||774||662||532||1,061||865|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.
To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows
|0.1 bn USD of services exported in 2020|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||37.39%|
|Merchanting and other trade-related...Merchanting and other trade-related services||1.29%|
|Sea transportSea transport||17.49%|
|Air transportAir transport||10.21%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||13.41%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||1.38%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||7.88%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||1.69%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||0.04%|
|0.5 bn USD of services imported in 2020|
|Miscellaneous business,...Miscellaneous business, professional, and technical services||53.54%|
|Sea transportSea transport||14.35%|
|Air transportAir transport||3.32%|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||10.07%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||1.47%|
|Construction in the compiling...Construction in the compiling economy||4.10%|
|Telecommunications servicesTelecommunications services||3.91%|
|Postal and courier servicesPostal and courier services||0.01%|
|Franchises and similar rightsFranchises and similar rights||0.84%|
Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data
Member of FTAA - Free Trade Area of the Americas
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Latest Update: September 2023