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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Curacao's economy is very open to foreign trade, which represents close to 150% of the island's GDP (2014). Curaçao exports mainly tourism and financial services, petroleum products, machinery and transport equipment, foodstuffs and live animals, manufactured goods, chemicals, beverages and tobacco. The island imports mainly machinery and transport equipment, crude oil, food and live animals. Its main trading partners are the United States, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and Aruba. Curaçao has a structurally negative trade balance and this trend is expected to continue. In late 2013, the U.S. granted a preferential trade regime to Curacao. In 2015, the country's exports and imports increased, the latter particular due to the construction of a new hospital.

The economy of Sint Maarten is also very open to trade, which represents around 220% of the island's GDP (2014). The main exports are tourism services and sugar, and the island mostly imports food, energy and manufactured goods. The main trading partners are the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. The trade balance is structurally negative, but it is offset by the positive balance of services. In 2013, the island became a member of the Association of Caribbean States. In 2015, St Maarten's exports increased while imports significantly decreased. St Marteen benefited from the lower prices of oil imports.

Foreign trade represents around 100% of Aruba's GDP. In 2015, Aruba remains a highly open, tourism-dependent economy, with a structurally negative trade balance. The main exports are live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment; and the island mainly imports machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and re export, chemicals and foodstuffs. The main trading partners are the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dutch Caribbean islands and the UK. Exports decreased between 2014 and 2015 while imports remained stable.

The BES islands (Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba) are highly dependent on international trade, on which they depend for their imports and tourism activities. Their trade balance is increasingly in deficit, with increasing imports and stagnant exports. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the United States, Mexico and the Netherlands being the major suppliers. In 2015, Bonaire's exports declined while imports increased. The trade deficit has increased and now accounts for USD 184.5 million.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20062007200820092010
Imports of Goods (million USD) n/a3,3004,0003,7002,622
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,0762,0763,7102,100807
Imports of Services (million USD) n/an/a803700911
Exports of Services (million USD) n/an/an/a1,4001,965
Trade Balance (million USD) n/a-1,8721,991-1,797-1,876

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



Trade Compliance

Main International Economic Cooperation
Having gained autonomous status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, both islands began negotiations to become members, together with the United States, of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), to which the Netherlands Antilles belonged until their dissolution. They also applied for associate membership of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, where the Netherlands Antilles had been an observerving member. Curaçao and St Maarten are associate members of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), and have signed an association agreement with the European Union as an overseas country (OCT).

Aruba is an OCT, a beneficiary country of the CBI, an associate member of the ACS, an associate member of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and an observer of the CARICOM.

Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius (the BES islands) will remain OCTs at least until 2015. They have requested to receive benefits under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, and The United States are reviewing their request.

Useful Resources
Curaçao Customs Office
Inspectorate of Taxes, Directorate of Fiscal Affairs (in Dutch)
Belastingdienst Caribisch Nederland
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Bureau for Intellectual Property

Benelux Office for Intellectual Property



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Last Updates: June 2017