flag Belize Belize: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

International trade amounted to 110% of the country’s GDP in 2020. Whereas imports from CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) are exempt from import duties, other countries have to pay relatively high customs taxes (up to 45%). Moreover, import licenses are mandatory to protect certain national industries. Belize mainly exports cane or beet sugar (25.8%), bananas (20.7%), fruit juices (10.7%), crustaceans (7%), and beer made from malt (5.1%), while imports include petroleum oils (8.6%), cigars (6.2%), Insecticides (2.2%), margarine (1.7%), and mineral or chemical fertilisers (1.6%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by an estimated 16.9% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 19% in 2022, while the volume of imports of goods and services rose by an estimated 10.4% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 8.1% in 2022.

The country's main trade partners are the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Despite the discovery of a large oilfield in the northern part of the country, Belize relies on other members of Petrocaribe (primarily Central American countries, Mexico and Venezuela) for its energy supply. Belize also relies heavily on the U.S., leading to commercial vulnerability due to lack of diversification. In 2019, Belize launched its first National Trade Policy, which is expected to ѕіgnіfісаntlу соntrіbutе tо а соmреtіtіvе есоnоmу аnd ѕuѕtаіnаblе ѕосіо-есоnоmіс dеvеlорmеnt. The Policy is aligned with Belize’s development strategies such as the Horizon 2030 and the Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy, and seeks to reduce the cost of doing business, enhance competitiveness and develop efficient production systems and capacities, improve trade performance for goods and services, and diversify production, among other things. Foreign trade is subject to fluctuations in global prices of raw materials and depends on the longevity of certain trade agreements, especially with the United States, the European Union (sugar cane) and the United Kingdom (bananas). The biggest challenge to Belize's trade and reputation involves being blacklisted by the EU as a fiscal paradise, presumably involved in money laundering.

According to the latest data, Belize imported nearly triple the value of its exports of goods in 2020 (USD 787 million in imports vs USD 287 million in exports). As a result, the country recorded a trade deficit for goods of USD 444 million in 2020. However, the country did export more than double the services it imported, with USD 381 million in services exported, and USD 155 million imported. Belize's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend which has been increasing in recent years due to a simultaneous rise in imports and a fall in exports. The country's trade deficit cannot be reduced unless the country becomes competitive in non-traditional products, such as industrial hemp and soybean oil, and further promotes its services sector.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 970916958986787
Exports of Goods (million USD) 460457451462287
Imports of Services (million USD) 218217219219155
Exports of Services (million USD) 545544580634381
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2-1-44-14
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1068-7-14
Trade Balance (million USD) -473-390-466-543-444
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 113112113110110
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 6158575955
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 5254565155

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

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
United Kingdom 29.6%
United States 23.5%
Ireland 8.3%
Mexico 5.8%
Jamaica 5.4%
See More Countries 27.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
United States 40.5%
China 14.4%
Mexico 13.0%
Guatemala 8.6%
Trinidad and Tobago 1.7%
See More Countries 21.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.2 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in...Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 25.8%
Bananas, incl. plantains, fresh or driedBananas, incl. plantains, fresh or dried 20.7%
Fruit juices, incl. grape must, and vegetable...Fruit juices, incl. grape must, and vegetable juices, unfermented, not containing added spirit, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter 10.7%
Crustaceans, fit for human consumption, whether in...Crustaceans, fit for human consumption, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine, incl. crustaceans in shell cooked beforehand by steaming or by boiling in water; flours, meals and pellets of crustaceans, fit for human consumption 7.0%
Beer made from maltBeer made from malt 5.1%
See More Products 30.8%
0.8 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...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 8.6%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of...Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 6.2%
Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides...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 2.2%
Margarine, other edible mixtures or preparations...Margarine, other edible mixtures or preparations of animal or vegetable fats or oils and edible fractions of different fats or oils (excl. fats, oils and their fractions, partly or wholly hydrogenated, inter-esterified, re-esterified or elaidinized, whether or not refined, but not further prepared, and mixtures of olive oils and their fractions) 1.7%
Mineral or chemical fertilizers containing two or...Mineral or chemical fertilizers containing two or three of the fertilizing elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilizers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilizers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilizers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilizers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 1.6%
See More Products 79.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Main Services

0.6 bn USD of services exported in 2018
77.75%
8.08%
6.42%
4.02%
1.69%
1.37%
0.60%
0.06%
0.2 bn USD of services imported in 2018
28.95%
20.57%
18.54%
15.15%
8.03%
3.44%
3.35%
1.16%
0.47%
0.35%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs duties

 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM)

Member of Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

Useful Resources
Belize Customs and Excise Department
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The BELIPO, Belize Intellectual Property Office .
 
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2022

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