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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Ghana is very open to trade, which accounts for 89% of its GDP (WTO, 2016). The government aims to create an economic environment that facilitates the development of the private sector, guaranteeing a transparent trade system and promoting the country's competitiveness in international markets. Ghana is a member of the WTO, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and has signed several bilateral partnership agreements. Customs duties are not very high, but they are levied on all imported products. The imports of certain products, such as mercuric medicated soap, toxic waste or contaminated goods are prohibited.  Moreover, since February 2016, Ghana has been implementing the Common External Tariffs (CET) to harmonise trade tariffs within the ECOWAS. In August 2016 Ghana ratified the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe, which could significantly improve the country's export opportunities in the West. Ghanaian official met their European counterparts in January 2018 to create a joint committee that would examine further trade opportunities between both parties. The EU also supports "Beyond Aid" agenda of the Ghanaian government, which aims to reshape the trade dynamic between the country and developed economies.

Foreign trade relies mainly on three products: gold, cocoa and oil, which have all endured a drop in the price of raw materials since 2013. After enduring a price drop of all three commodities in the global markets, that led to a deficit, the Ghanaian trade balance has recovered gradually to register its first surplus since 2011. According to data provided by the Bank of Ghana, the country's imports declined from USD 12.9 billion in 2016 to USD 12.7 billion in 2017 while exports rose to USD 13.7 billion from USD 11 billion in 2016, resulting in a trade surplus of USD 1 billion. The provisional trade surplus in the first two months of 2018 stood at USD 584.5 million, as opposed to USD 494.3 million during the same period in 2017 (Bank of Ghana).

Ghana mainly exports ores and precious stones (gold, bauxite, aluminium, manganese and diamonds), cocoa, wood, oil, fish and horticultural products. Its main clients are the European Union, followed by Africa, the United States and the Middle East. The Netherlands is the main client for horticultural products. The country mainly imports capital goods, oil and foodstuffs from China (which became the largest exporter to Ghana in 2013) and Nigeria. Other main suppliers of Ghana are Europe, the United States, India, South Africa and Brazil.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 17,76317,60014,60013,29113,352
Exports of Goods (million USD) 13,55213,75213,2179,55111,283
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,8384,3713,8334,9486,298
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,2002,3531,9775,7126,088
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 132-1689
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 15-4-6518
Trade Balance (million USD) -4,211-3,848-1,383-3,144-1,773
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 9382889989
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5347495548
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4034404441

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

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
Switzerland 17.5%
India 14.6%
United Arab Emirates 13.4%
China 8.8%
Vietnam 5.2%
Netherlands 4.2%
Burkina Faso 4.0%
South Africa 3.3%
Mali 2.8%
Togo 2.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
China 17.3%
United Kingdom 9.7%
United States 7.8%
Belgium 5.1%
India 4.6%
Germany 3.9%
France 3.4%
South Africa 2.9%
United Arab Emirates 2.5%
Turkey 2.5%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

Main Products

10.7 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 41.6%
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 17.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 10.1%
Coconuts, brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled 9.3%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or barked, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 3.4%
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 2.6%
Inorganic acids and inorganic oxygen compounds of non-metals (excl. hydrogen chloride hydrochloric acid, chlorosulphuric acid, sulphuric acid, oleum, nitric acid, sulphonitric acids, diphosphorus pentaoxide, phosphoric acid, polyphosphoric acids, oxides of boron and boric acids) 1.8%
Articles for the conveyance or packaging of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics 1.8%
Manganese ores and concentrates, incl. ferruginous manganese ores and concentrates, with a manganese content of >= 20%, calculated on the dry weight ecsc 0.9%
Fuel wood, in logs, billets, twigs, faggots or similar forms; wood in chips or particles; sawdust and wood waste and scrap, whether or not agglomerated in logs, briquettes, pellets or similar forms 0.8%
11.4 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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) 8.1%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 4.2%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 3.7%
Rice 2.5%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 2.5%
Electric generating sets and rotary converters 2.3%
Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levellers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers 1.8%
Printed matter, incl. printed pictures and photographs, n.e.s. 1.7%
Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products, put up for retail sale or as preparations or articles, e.g. sulphur-treated bands, wicks and candles, and fly-papers 1.7%
Military weapons, incl. sub-machine guns (excl. revolvers and pistols of heading 9302 and cutting and thrusting weapons of heading 9307) 1.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

4.1 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Travel
43.86%
Transportation
30.13%
Other business services
21.02%
Government services
3.29%
Insurance services
1.71%
9.3 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Other business services
35.37%
Transportation
34.72%
Government services
17.51%
Travel
9.87%
Insurance services
2.53%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Member of African Union (AU)

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

Useful Resources
Ghana Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
You can contact the Registrar General's Department by Email.
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: June 2018