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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 In addition, the trade licensing system is outdated and extremely time-consuming.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)
2017
Switzerland 32.0%
Hong Kong 22.5%
Belgium 10.8%
Guyana 8.0%
United Arab Emirates 7.4%
Trinidad and Tobago 2.6%
United States 1.9%
Singapore 1.7%
Jamaica 1.3%
India 1.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2017
United States 31.8%
Netherlands 13.8%
Trinidad and Tobago 9.7%
China 8.6%
Japan 2.8%
Saint Lucia 2.6%
Brazil 2.4%
Germany 2.2%
Canada 1.7%
Colombia 1.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

Main Products

1.4 bn USD of products exported in 2017
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 73.2%
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 9.7%
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.) 3.6%
Rice 2.1%
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) 1.5%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or barked, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 0.4%
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430, n.e.s. 0.4%
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. 0.3%
Meat and edible offal of fowls of the species gallus domesticus, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowls, fresh, chilled or frozen 0.2%
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) 0.2%
1.2 bn USD of products imported in 2017
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 10.9%
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430, n.e.s. 5.4%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.6%
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) 2.3%
Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levellers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers 2.3%
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 2.2%
Cyanides, oxycyanides and complex cyanides 1.8%
Food preparations, n.e.s. 1.4%
Machinery for sorting, screening, separating, washing, crushing, grinding, mixing or kneading earth, stone, ores or other mineral substances, in solid, incl. powder or paste, form; machinery for agglomerating, shaping or moulding solid mineral fuels, ceramic paste, unhardened cements, plastering materials or other mineral products in powder or paste form; machines for forming foundry moulds of sand; parts thereof 1.3%
Tubes, pipes and hoses, and fittings therefor, e.g. joints, elbows, flanges, of plastics 1.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

0.2 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Travel
42.91%
Other business services
23.00%
Transportation
19.32%
Government services
4.91%
Communications services
4.03%
Insurance services
2.30%
Financial services
1.50%
Construction services
0.99%
Computer and information services
0.90%
Cultural and recreational services
0.11%
Royalties and license fees
0.04%
0.7 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Other business services
45.15%
Travel
17.20%
Construction services
12.77%
Transportation
11.88%
Insurance services
4.75%
Royalties and license fees
2.92%
Communications services
2.42%
Computer and information services
1.58%
Financial services
0.81%
Government services
0.47%
Cultural and recreational services
0.04%

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.
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: November 2017