flag Nicaragua Nicaragua: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

According to the World Bank, trade represented 89% of Nicaragua's GDP in 2020. 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 (13.1%), t-shirts (10.2%), coffee (8.7%), insulated enamelled or anodised wires (7.7%), and meat of bovine animals (5.7%). On the other hand, imports include petroleum oils (8.6%), knitted or crocheted fabrics (5.7%), medicaments (5.3%), t-shirts (3.8%), and  insulated enamelled or anodised wires (2.4%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by an estimated 5% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 0.4% in 2022, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by an estimated 5.1% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 7% in 2022.

Nicaragua's main trade partners are the United States, Mexico, China, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, 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 928 million in 2020 - a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years. Imports of goods and services represented 47% of GDP in 2020, while exports stood at 42% of GDP. In 2020, the country imported USD 6.5 billion worth of goods, while it exported USD 5 billion. Concerning the trade of services, Nicaragua is a net exporter and, according to the latest available data, the country imported USD 591 million worth of services in 2020, while exports totalled USD 882 million.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7,1707,2427,3516,9866,545
Exports of Goods (million USD) 4,7825,1705,0145,2735,087
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,082983913808591
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,5781,4651,2591,267882
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 43-15-41
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 510-26-9
Trade Balance (million USD) -2,497-2,370-1,604-1,056-928
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 9496949589
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5555525047
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3941424542

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

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
United States 59.6%
Mexico 7.8%
El Salvador 6.5%
Honduras 3.7%
Costa Rica 3.0%
See More Countries 19.3%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
United States 25.3%
China 13.8%
Mexico 10.6%
Guatemala 8.5%
Honduras 7.1%
See More Countries 34.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

5.1 bn USD of products exported in 2020
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 13.1%
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or...T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 10.2%
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 8.7%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable...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 7.7%
Meat of bovine animals, frozenMeat of bovine animals, frozen 5.7%
See More Products 54.7%
6.5 bn USD of products imported in 2020
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 5.7%
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) 5.7%
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) 5.3%
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or...T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 3.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.9%
See More Products 76.7%

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 World Trade Organisation
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 World Trade Organisation
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)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Dirección de Registro de la Propiedad Intelectual (RPI).
 
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2022