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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Ghana is very open to trade, which accounts for around 85% of its GDP (WTO, 2012-2014 average). 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 import products. The imports of certain products, such as mercuric medicated soap, toxic waste or contaminated goods are prohibited.

Foreign trade mainly relies 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 2014, Ghana's trade deficit was partially resorbed to USD 1.3 billion. In 2015, the country's exports suffered from the drop in oil and gold prices; exports fell while imports rose slightly. Consequently, the trade deficit increased in 2015. For 2016, the country's exports should benefit from the recovery in cocoa prices. Furthermore, beginning in 2016, Ghana and the EU have been negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which could significantly improve the country's export opportunities in the West.

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 20112012201320142015
Imports of Goods (million USD) 15,83817,76317,60014,60013,291
Exports of Goods (million USD) 12,78513,55213,75213,2179,551
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,1263,8384,3713,8334,948
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,6793,2002,3531,9775,712
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 40132-168
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5415-4-65
Trade Balance (million USD) -3,052-4,211-3,848-1,383-3,109
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 8693828899
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4953474955
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3740344044

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

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
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)
2013
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, Last 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, Last 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, Last 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 2017