Belarus flag Belarus: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Belarus

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Belarusian economy is both largely state-owned (more than 70% of GDP is generated by public or parastatal enterprises) and very open to international trade, which accounts for 120.7% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The main products exported by Belarus are petroleum oils other than crude (9.4%), mineral or chemical potassium fertilizers (8.3%), cheese and curd (3.6%), and motor vehicles for the transport of goods (2.1%). The country’s imports are led by petroleum oils (11.9%), petroleum gas (7.7%), motorized vehicles for the transport of passengers (2.8%), and medicaments (1.7%).

Belarus’ main trading partners in 2020 were the Russian Federation (44.6%), Ukraine (10.8%), Poland (4.3%), Lithuania (3.5%), and Germany (3.1%); whereas imports arrived chiefly from Russia (49.6%), China (11.1%) Germany (5.1%), Ukraine (4.2%), and Poland (3.8%). As a legacy of the Soviet era, during which Belarus was the workshop of the USSR, the Russian and Belarusian production structures remained very complementary. As a result, the Belarusian economy is still strongly concentrated on the Russian market, both as a natural outlet and as its main supplier. Recently, trade ties with China have strengthened, as Beijing is looking for partners for its New Silk Road project; whereas the European Union, Belarus' second-largest trading partner, announced that it would not ratify the bilateral partnership and cooperation agreement with the country due to “Belarus' lack of commitment to democracy and political and civil rights”.

The country’s balance of trade has been fluctuating in recent years. In 2020, Belarus exported USD 29 billion worth of goods (-12% y-o-y) and USD 8.7 billion of commercial services (-8.8%), importing USD 32.6 billion (-17.4% y-o-y) and USD 4.9 billion (-15.6%), respectively (data by WTO). According to figures from the World Bank, Belarus registered a trade surplus of 3.1% of GDP in 2020 (from a deficit of 0.6% one year earlier), thanks to the sharp drop in imports. According to preliminary figures from Belstat, in the period January – November 2021 the turnover of foreign trade in goods totalled USD 73.4 billion (+32.8% y-o-y), of which exports accounted for USD 36.1 billion (+38%) and imports for USD 37.3 billion (+28.2%).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 27,57334,23538,44039,48032,601
Exports of Goods (million USD) 23,34029,24033,90732,96029,034
Imports of Services (million USD) 4,2474,7725,3995,8424,927
Exports of Services (million USD) 6,8137,8188,8179,6248,775

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 125.2133.4139.4130.9120.7
Trade Balance (million USD) -2,511-2,979-2,503-4,193-1,969
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -9100929-4031,882
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.411.17.35.1-7.2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.67.53.81.0-3.1
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 62.766.668.965.858.8
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 62.566.870.565.161.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -6.93.63.02.02.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -1.33.22.21.81.9

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Belarus is member of:
- The Eurasian Economic Union
- The Eurasian Economic Community
- The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) 
Belarus also signed in 2009 a Free Trade Agreement with Serbia.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
Poland 4.0%
Ukraine 3.0%
Lithuania 3.0%
Germany 2.0%
Kazakhstan 1.9%
See More Countries 86.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 8.1%
Germany 3.6%
Ukraine 3.4%
Poland 2.5%
Italy 1.7%
See More Countries 80.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

39.9 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Cheese and curdCheese and curd 3.0%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled,...Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 2.0%
Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats...Furniture and parts thereof, n.e.s. (excl. seats and medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture) 1.6%
Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not...Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not further worked than forged, hot-rolled, hot-drawn or hot-extruded, but incl. those twisted after rolling (excl. in irregularly wound coils) 1.4%
Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added...Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter 1.4%
See More Products 90.7%
41.8 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...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%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.4%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 1.2%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 1.1%
Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of...Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (excl. slag, scale and other waste from the production of iron or steel; radioactive waste and scrap; fragments of pigs, blocks or other primary forms of pig iron or spiegeleisen) 1.1%
See More Products 92.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022

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