Click here to read Rabobank's economic vision for this country. The information and publications in this tab are prepared and made available by third parties and are only available in English. No rights can be derived. Rabobank is not responsible or liable for the information and publications. Click here for the full disclaimer.

Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Ethiopia is open to international trade, with a foreign trade-to-GDP ratio of 44.2% (WTO, 2012-2014 average). It is a member of the IGAD and the COMESA (but it has not joined the free trade zone) and, since March 2003, it has been in the process of joining the WTO. In this process, the Government is restructuring its custom tariffs. In order to rationalise the opportunities for investment, it has introduced lower duties on raw materials and semi-finished products.

Historically in deficit, the trade balance continues to deepen (about -30% of GDP in 2015) due to its investment-led economy, which strongly encourages imports. The country's trade balance partially depends on climatic events, which sometimes force Ethiopia, a large agricultural producer, to import grains during droughts, as was  the case in 2015. In 2014 and 2015, exports decreased slightly following a drop in the volume and price of coffee and gold exports.

Ethiopia mainly exports coffee, khat, gold, leather, animals and oleaginous plants to the European Union (Netherlands, Germany, etc.), China and Somalia. Trade with China has increased manfiold over the last years, reaching over USD 7 billion in 2015. The country imports mainly food, petroleum products, chemical products, machinery, motor-vehicles, cereals and textiles from China, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and India. France has been trying to deepen its trade relations with Ethiopia, a country which is experiencing fast growth both demographically and economically.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20112012201320142015
Imports of Goods (million USD) 8,89611,91314,89918,99119,063
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,8752,8914,0774,4693,825
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,3083,5813,3634,2304,612
Exports of Services (million USD) 2,5492,5372,8672,7342,851
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) n/a224205
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) n/a-1003-7
Trade Balance (million USD) -5,300-7,289n/an/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 4845414137
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3232292927
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 1714121210

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - 2016.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
United States 9.8%
Saudi Arabia 9.7%
Germany 8.6%
Switzerland 7.6%
China 5.1%
United Arab Emirates 5.0%
Pakistan 4.4%
Japan 3.5%
Italy 3.4%
Belgium 3.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
China 31.9%
United States 8.8%
India 7.5%
Kuwait 5.6%
Japan 4.2%
Italy 4.0%
Turkey 3.6%
Sweden 2.7%
United Arab Emirates 2.5%
Bahrain 2.3%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 

Main Products

1.7 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 41.5%
Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or not skinned or split 14.4%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 7.5%
Meat of sheep or goats, fresh, chilled or frozen 5.7%
Leather further prepared after tanning or crusting incl. parchment-dressed leather, of sheep or lambs, without wool on, whether or not split (excl. chamois leather, patent leather and patent laminated leather, and metallized leather) 2.5%
Footwear with outer soles of rubber or plastics, with uppers other than rubber, plastics, leather or textile materials; footwear with outer soles of leather or composition leather, with uppers other than leather or textile materials; footwear with outer soles of wood, cork, twine, paperboard, furskin, woven fabrics, felt, nonwovens, linoleum, raffia, straw, loofah, etc and uppers of any type of material, n.e.s. 2.4%
Measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines not elsewhere specified in chapter 90; profile projectors 2.0%
Leather further prepared after tanning or crusting incl. parchment-dressed leather, of goats or kids, pigs, reptiles and other animals, without wool or hair on, and leather of hairless animals, whether or not split (excl. leather of bovine and equine animals, sheep and lambs, and chamois leather, patent leather and patent laminated leather, and metallized leather) 2.0%
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 1.4%
Pepper of the genus piper; dried or crushed or ground fruits of the genus capsicum or of the genus pimenta 1.0%
19.1 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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 10.1%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 4.2%
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) 3.3%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 2.7%
Mineral or chemical fertilizers containing two or three of the fertilizing elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilizers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilizers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilizers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilizers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 2.2%
Prepared unrecorded media for sound recording or similar recording of other phenomena (excl. products of chapter 37) 2.2%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 2.1%
Structures and parts of structures e.g., bridges and bridge-sections, lock-gates, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, shutters, balustrades, pillars and columns, of iron or steel; plates, rods, angles, shapes, sections, tubes and the like, prepared for use in structures, of iron or steel (excl. prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) 2.1%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 2.1%
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) 1.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

5.6 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Transportation
78.61%
Travel
12.63%
Government services
8.76%
6.8 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Transportation
91.88%
Travel
8.02%
Government services
0.10%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Last Available Data

 
 

Trade Compliance

Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of African Union
Useful Resources
Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO).
 
 
 

 

Learn more about How to Export to Ethiopia on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Last Updates: June 2017