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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Bahrain's market constitutes one of the most diversified economies in the region. The business climate deteriorated in 2012 due to social upheaval, although it had previously improved considerably (improvement of local skills, dynamic private sector attractive to foreign investors, rapid development of transport and communication infrastructures). The kingdom's trade balance is highly positive. Both imports and exports rose significantly compared to 2011. The political instability and the volatility of oil income could have a negative effect in Bahrain's trade balance in the next future years. The country remains heavily dependent on its oil industry and its industrial diversification is very limited. In the recent years, the percentage of oil products exports has increased. In 2012, oil exports (3/5 of exports) benefited from high oil prices on global markets. Other major exports are metal products, in particular aluminum, which represents the second most imported product of the kingdom, but also chemical products (essentially created from petro-chemicals) and textiles. The manufacturing sector, based in agro-food and construction materials is also rising. Imports of Saudi crude oil represent more than half of Bahrain's total imports. Non-oil imports include equipment goods (machinery, appliances, electric equipment), chemical products, transportation and food products. The main trading partners of Bahrain are the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar), the United States, Japan, India, China and Brazil.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20082009201020112012
Imports of Goods (million USD) 10,8007,30012,26012,73014,900
Exports of Goods (million USD) 17,31611,87414,97119,65020,500
Trade Balance (million USD) 3,0692,2612,4577,5446,529
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 171140120127124
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 7459514848
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 9781707975

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank - Last Available Data.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Saudi Arabia 7.3%
Qatar 3.4%
Oman 3.4%
United Arab Emirates 2.7%
India 2.2%
China 1.8%
United States 1.3%
Puerto Rico 1.3%
Kuwait 0.7%
Italy 0.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Saudi Arabia 45.9%
China 7.7%
Brazil 7.1%
United States 4.7%
Puerto Rico 4.7%
Japan 3.3%
United Arab Emirates 3.3%
Germany 2.8%
Australia 2.4%
India 2.2%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

22.6 bn USD of products exported in 2011
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 68.8%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 11.6%
Bars, rods and profiles, of aluminium, n.e.s. 4.6%
Plates, sheets and strip, of aluminium, of a thickness of > 0,2 mm (excl. expanded plates, sheets and strip) 2.4%
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) 1.1%
Aluminium wire (excl. stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like and other articles of heading 7614, electrically insulated wires, and strings for musical instruments) 1.0%
Stranded wire, cables, plaited bands and the like, of aluminium (excl. such products electrically insulated) 0.9%
Cheese and curd 0.7%
Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (excl. slag, scale and other waste from the production of iron or steel; radioactive waste and scrap; fragments of pigs, blocks or other primary forms of pig iron or spiegeleisen) 0.7%
Air conditioning machines comprising a motor-driven fan and elements for changing the temperature and humidity, incl. those machines in which the humidity cannot be separately regulated; parts thereof 0.6%
17.6 bn USD of products imported in 2011
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 42.3%
Iron ores and concentrates, incl. roasted iron pyrites 7.6%
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) 4.9%
Artificial corundum, whether or not chemically defined; aluminium oxide; aluminium hydroxide 1.4%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.1%
Petroleum coke, petroleum bitumen and other residues of petroleum oil or of oil obtained from bituminous minerals, n.e.s. 1.0%
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) 1.0%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 1.0%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 0.8%
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 0.6%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Services

1.1 bn USD of services exported in 2011
Communications services
Insurance services
Other business services
0.7 bn USD of services imported in 2011
Other business services
Insurance services
Communications services

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

Useful Resources
Bahrain Customs Office
National Organization of Intellectual Property
The Directorate of Industrial Property.


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Last Updates: January 2014