flag Eswatini Eswatini: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Eswatini is open to foreign trade, which represents 87% of the country’s GDP (World Bank, 2020). The country is a member of regional unions (SACU, COMESA and SADC) and has signed agreements granting it preferential access to developed markets (AGOA-United States and Interim EPA with the EU) as well as with emerging markets (MERCOSUR). The country also ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Customs duties have been reduced and, as a member of the Southern African Customs Union, Eswatini does not impose strict trade barriers and is easily accessible. In 2020, Eswatini mainly exported essential oils and perfumes (30.23% of total exports), sugar (25.12%), chemicals (11.87%), textiles (6.7%) and wood (5.42%). The country mainly imported fuels (14.98% of total imports), machinery (5.98%), vehicles (5.78%), cereals (4.73%), electrical equipment (4.49%), plastics (3.93%), cotton (3.93%) and medicines (3.51%) (ITC, 2020).

Eswatini's main customers are South Africa (65% of total exports), Kenya (7.2%), Nigeria (5.9%) and Mozambique (4%). Its main suppliers are South Africa (71.4% of total imports), China (7.3%), India (3.4%), the United States (1.9%) and Japan (1.5%) (ITC, 2020). The abolition of the EU sugar quota system and the protectionist position of the main trading partners have negative effects on exports.

According to the World Bank, in 2020 the trade surplus reached USD 241 million. In 2020, Eswatini exported USD 1.7 billion of goods and imported USD 1.5 billion. Exports of services amounted to USD 66 million and imports reached USD 171 million (WTO). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, global trade volumes decreased sharply. Eswatini's export-oriented industries were constrained by temporary business closures, disruptions in global value chains, and weak demand (AfDB). A rebound in trade is expected as post-Covid recovery strengthens.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 1,3371,6651,8581,8321,533
Exports of Goods (million USD) 1,4331,7921,8422,0021,703
Imports of Services (million USD) 326310230168171
Exports of Services (million USD) 143119678666
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8751n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 45-416n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 18718620258241
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 87888589n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 43444443n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44444046n/a

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

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To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows


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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 COMESA - Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa

Member of SADC - Southern African Development Community

Member of SACU - Southern African Customs Union

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

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Latest Update: October 2022

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