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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Suriname is heavily dependent on foreign trade: its trade to GDP ratio floated around 90% in the past years (94% in 2016, World Bank). In Suriname, customs duties and non-tariff barriers are not too high, with an average applied tariff at 10.8%. The implementation of a new investment code and legislation on the protection of intellectual property are factors that encourage the development of trade. Nevertheless, inadequate technical capabilities and the interference of the State in the country’s economy are factors that limit trade. In addition, the trade licensing system is outdated and extremely time-consuming.

The extractive sector is the most important as it cumulates more than three quarters of the country’s export. The banana industry has been restructured. However, the import tax reforms established by the European Union tend to favour the banana's exports from Ecuador and Colombia, which creates a disadvantage for Suriname.

In 2015, Suriname was the 144th largest exporter and the 168th largest importer in the world. In the same year, Suriname exported USD 1.16 billion and imported USD 1.39 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of USD 223 million (Observatory of Economic Complexity). According to World Bank estimates, the country had a surplus of USD 70 million in 2016 (excluding services) with imports declining much faster than exports.

Exports were led by gold (45%), aluminium oxide (18%) and refined petroleum (9%), while the main imports were cars and trucks (5.3% and 3.5% respectively).
The main destinations for Suriname’s export were Switzerland (31%), Belgium (14%) and the United States (12%). The top import origins where the United States (29%), the Netherlands (16%) and China (15%).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 1,9942,1742,0122,0301,210
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,6952,3942,1451,6801,280
Imports of Services (million USD) 611589800713565
Exports of Services (million USD) 160165198167165
Trade Balance (million USD) 729291183-307243
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 1101039894102
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5253535652
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5850453850

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

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United States 24.3%
United Arab Emirates 22.0%
Switzerland 13.6%
Belgium 8.5%
Guyana 7.3%
Canada 5.8%
Trinidad and Tobago 3.6%
Netherlands 2.8%
Jamaica 2.3%
France 2.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
United States 27.5%
Netherlands 14.4%
Trinidad and Tobago 10.6%
China 6.7%
Saint Lucia 6.2%
Japan 3.1%
Brazil 2.1%
Antigua and Barbuda 1.6%
France 1.6%
Colombia 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

1.9 bn USD of products exported in 2014
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 10.4%
Rice 2.7%
Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood, or roughly squared (excl. rough-cut wood for walking sticks, umbrellas, tool shafts and the like; wood in the form of railway sleepers; wood cut into boards or beams, etc.) 1.0%
Undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume of < 80%; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages (excl. compound alcoholic preparations of a kind used for the manufacture of beverages) 0.8%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 0.6%
Surveying, incl. photogrammetrical surveying, hydrographic, oceanographic, hydrological, meteorological or geophysical instruments and appliances (excl. compasses); rangefinders 0.5%
Waters, incl. mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured, and other non-alcoholic beverages (excl. fruit or vegetable juices and milk) 0.3%
Moving, grading, levelling, scraping, excavating, tamping, compacting, extracting or boring machinery, for earth, minerals or ores; pile-drivers and pile-extractors; snow-ploughs and snow-blowers (excl. those mounted on railway wagons, motor vehicle chassis or lorries, self-propelled machinery of heading 8429, lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery of heading 8425 to 8428 and hand-operated tools) 0.3%
Wood, incl. strips and friezes for parquet flooring, not assembled, continuously shaped tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, v-jointed beaded, moulded, rounded or the like along any of its edges, ends or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed 0.3%
Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, incl. scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments, n.e.s. 0.2%
1.8 bn USD of products imported in 2014
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 20.5%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.8%
Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levellers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers 3.8%
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) 2.9%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 1.6%
Sodium hydroxide caustic soda, potassium hydroxide caustic potash; peroxides of sodium or potassium 1.5%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 1.3%
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) 1.3%
Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species gallus domesticus, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, fresh, chilled or frozen 1.2%
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 1.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Services

0.2 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Other business services
Government services
Communications services
Insurance services
Financial services
Construction services
Computer and information services
Cultural and recreational services
Royalties and license fees
0.7 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Other business services
Construction services
Insurance services
Royalties and license fees
Communications services
Computer and information services
Financial services
Government services
Cultural and recreational services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of CARICOM - Caribbean Community

Member of FTAA - Free Trade Area of the Americas

Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
You can contact the Intellectual Property Office by Email.


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

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Last Updates: November 2017