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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.

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. The country has a trade deficit, since it imports a great amount of foodstuffs and capital goods. In 2015, the country's exports suffered from the drop in oil and gold prices; exports fell while imports rose slightly. Trade deficit improved considerably in 2016 from USD 3.1 billion to USD 1.7 billion as exports were up by 7.2% while imports fell by 5.3%. In the first four months of 2017, the country registered a trade surplus, a first since 2011, reaching USD 1.2 billion

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)
South Africa 22.4%
United Arab Emirates 13.1%
Switzerland 9.3%
Italy 8.7%
France 7.4%
Netherlands 6.0%
Burkina Faso 3.7%
India 3.7%
China 3.6%
United States 2.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 17.8%
United States 9.8%
Belgium 7.2%
India 4.8%
United Kingdom 4.2%
Germany 3.8%
South Korea 3.5%
South Africa 3.2%
Italy 2.8%
Nigeria 2.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

12.6 bn USD of products exported in 2013
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 42.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 23.8%
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 10.9%
Coconuts, brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled 3.3%
Beauty or make-up preparations and preparations for the care of the skin, incl. sunscreen or sun tan preparations (excl. medicaments); manicure or pedicure preparations 1.9%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or barked, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 1.8%
Sheets for veneering, incl. those obtained by slicing laminated wood, for plywood or for other similar laminated wood and other wood, sawn lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded, spliced or end-jointed, of a thickness of <= 6 mm 1.2%
Manganese ores and concentrates, incl. ferruginous manganese ores and concentrates, with a manganese content of >= 20%, calculated on the dry weight ecsc 1.1%
Coconut copra, palm kernel or babassu oil and fractions thereof, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified 0.9%
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 0.8%
12.8 bn USD of products imported in 2013
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) 8.5%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 4.8%
Rice 3.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.4%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 2.4%
Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levellers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers 2.2%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 2.0%
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 1.9%
Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species gallus domesticus, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, fresh, chilled or frozen 1.6%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 1.5%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Services

4.1 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Other business services
Government services
Insurance services
9.3 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Other business services
Government services
Insurance services

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.


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

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Last Updates: November 2017