flag Vanuatu Vanuatu: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Trade is essential to Vanuatu’s economy and represented 62% of the country's GDP in 2020 according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources in 2021. Vanuatu is a member of WTO since 2012 and the country has committed to strengthening their partnership from 2018.

The main exports are non-fillet frozen fish (70.5% of all exports in 2020), perfume plants (8.1%) and passengers and cargo ships (6.6%); while the country mainly imports fuels (8.7% of all imports in 2020), poultry meat (3.3%) and rice with 3.3% (OEC, 2022). In January 2020, the government decided to suspend the issuing and renewal of all kava export licences, due to concerns that exporters where taking advantage of farmers, paying them too low prices (in some cases -90% compared to normal prices). The country main trading partners in 2020 were Thailand (38.9% of all exports), Japan (24.8%), Indonesia (8.2%) and South Korea (6.5%) ; while imports came mainly from China (34.6%), Australia (18.4%), New Zealand (11.1%) and New Zealand with 13.6% (OEC, 2022).

The archipelago imports more than it exports, which creates a structural trade deficit, a trend that has worsened since the economic slowdown and the damage caused by recent cyclones which Vanuatu still has to fully recover from. According to figures from the WTO, Vanuatu exported 161 million worth of goods in 2020 and imported 210 million USD resulting in a deficit of 49 million USD. Custom duties are relatively high since the country's income is mainly generated through import duties. High tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade have held back integration into the global marketplace, just as limited availability of funds, lack of adequate infrastructure and the long distances between the markets of the main islands create additional barriers to trade.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 424370390357301
Exports of Goods (million USD) 5147615646
Imports of Services (million USD) 156155152139141
Exports of Services (million USD) 334360367332130
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2310-13-14
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 20-13-25-49
Trade Balance (million USD) -270-256-240-276n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 1101061179170
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 6158605047
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4948574123

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

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of World Trade Organisation
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country's commercial policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Useful Resources
Vanuatu Customs & Inland Revenue Website
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Vanuatu Financial Services Commission

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Latest Update: October 2022