flag Palau Palau: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Palau is open to foreign trade with merchandise trade representing 66% of the GDP in 2020 (World Bank, 2022). One of the characteristics of Palauan economy is the high dependency on imports of good and services. The main imported goods are led by boats (7.9% of all imports), Refined Petroleum (7.9%), cars (3.4%), as well as non-fillet Fresh Fish and Broadcasting Accessories. The country mainly exports scrapped vessels (59.3% of all exports in 2020), Computers (28.8%), Broadcasting Accessories and Office Machine Parts (OEC, 2022).

Palau's main clients are Turkey (59.3% of total exports in 2020), Japan (28.6%), Chinese Taipei (3.4%) and South Korea (2.2%), while the main suppliers are China (27.2%), the USA (20.2%), Taiwan (14%), and Japan with 13.9% (OEC, 2022). Palau is a member of the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA).

Without natural resources, the archipelago has a large structural trade deficit, which is expected to persist in the coming years. According to 2022 WTO data, in 2020, Palau exported just 13.1 million USD in goods and imported  89.3 million USD of goods, resulting in a negative trade balance for goods of 76.2 million USD. The country wishes to facilitate international trade. Customs duties are relatively low (with the exception of alcohol and cigarettes) and there are few non-tariff trade barriers in the country. However, the lack of skilled labour force, the absence of financial regulations and bureaucratic delays are limitations to the development of trade in the country.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 158176193167156
Exports of Goods (million USD) 64432
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a64623745
Exports of Services (million USD) n/a1211075816
Trade Balance (million USD) -139-138-145-150-132

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

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Commercial Policy

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Palau and WTO
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)

Trade Compliance

Useful Resources
Bureau of Revenue, Customs and Tax

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Latest Update: February 2023