flag Palestine Palestine: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Palestine is open to foreign trade, but its relative share in the economy has declined since the early 2000s as the country gradually lost access to international markets. Trade represented 69% of GDP in 2019 (World Bank). Palestine mainly exports limestone, marble, scrap iron and olive oil; whereas energy and petroleum oils are by far the largest item of imports (Coface). In fact, the country imports nearly all of its electricity from Israel along with gas and oil, which also go through Israeli customs.

Israel is by the far the largest trading partner of Palestine, both for imports (more than 50%) and exports (more than 80%). However, Palestine has a structural trade deficit with Israel as its exports are mainly of low value. Arab countries, namely Jordan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates are among other top destinations for Palestinian exports. Turkey is the second supplier of goods, followed by China, Jordan and Egypt (data OEC). The government's economic and trade policies focus on exports, which are restrained by Israeli blockades, particularly for those from Gaza. Customs tariffs are comparatively low. A licence is required in order to import goods into the West Bank and Gaza. However, no licence is required for export companies, with the exception of foodstuffs, chemicals, and agricultural products. The Palestinian economy is engaged in a regional and international integration process. Palestine has signed free trade agreements and business association agreements with the European Union, the United States, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and GAFTA, among other countries. The Palestinian Investment Promotion Agency (PIPA) included several sectors in its National Export Strategy: Stone and marble; tourism; agriculture, including olive oil, fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs; food and beverage, including agro-processed meat; textiles and garments; manufacturing, including furniture and pharmaceuticals; information and communication technology (ICT); and renewable energy.
 
The tense political situation, the restrictions on the movement of goods and the blockade imposed on Gaza are among the key barriers to trade. Palestine has a structural trade deficit: according to figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2020 the country exported USD 1.05 billion worth of goods, while imports totalled USD 6.06 billion; thus resulting in a trade deficit of USD 5 billion. Export of services with Israel stood at USD 205 million, against USD 180 million of imports.

 

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Main Products

n/a bn USD of products exported in 2017
Monumental or building stone, natural (excl. slate...Monumental or building stone, natural (excl. slate), worked, and articles; mosaic cubes etc. of natural stone, incl. slate, whether or not on a backing; artificially coloured granules, chippings, powder, of natural stone, incl. slate (excl. setts, curbstones, flagstones; articles of fused basalt and of fired steatite; jewellery, clocks, lamps and parts; buttons, chalks, original sculptures and statuary) 0.0%
Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats...Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats and medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture) 0.0%
Articles for the conveyance or packaging of goods,...Articles for the conveyance or packaging of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics 0.0%
Olive oil and its fractions obtained from the...Olive oil and its fractions obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions that do not lead to deterioration of the oil, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified 0.0%
Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics,...Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of textile materials (excl. toy footwear) 0.0%
See More Products 100.0%
n/a bn USD of products imported in 2017
Electrical energyElectrical energy 0.0%
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 0.0%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 0.0%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 0.0%
Preparations of a kind used in animal feedingPreparations of a kind used in animal feeding 0.0%
See More Products 100.0%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows

 
 

Main Services

0.6 bn USD of services exported in 2017
39.74%
27.94%
11.19%
9.21%
5.30%
3.98%
2.29%
0.33%
0.01%
n/a%
1.5 bn USD of services imported in 2017
50.09%
21.86%
13.42%
10.23%
2.59%
1.02%
0.35%
0.33%
0.08%
0.01%
n/a%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Palestine has signed Free-Trade Agreements with the USA, Canada, and enjoys a Preferential Trading Treatment with the Arab World. Palestine is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area(GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Palestine and the WTO
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
 
 
 
 

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Latest Update: October 2022