flag Central African Republic Central African Republic: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Traditionally, the Central African Republic (CAR) is highly favorable to international trade. International trade represented 52% of the country's GDP in 2020 (World Bank). However, the country's protectionist policies limited its openness and customs duties are relatively high. In addition, certain agricultural products benefit from higher tariff protections. Despite easy access to its internal market, the CAR does not grant preferential tariffs to other countries. CAR is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The country mainly exports gold (25.19% of total exports), vehicles (24.81%), wood (18.23%), diamonds (16.43%) and machinery (9.29%). CAR's main imports comprise vehicles (18.22% of total imports), mineral fuels (12.97%), electrical equipment (10.04%), medicines (9.66%) and machinery (6.87%) (International Trade Centre, 2020)

CAR's main customers are the United Arab Emirates (24.3% of total imports), Sweden (15.2%), France (10.2%), Switzerland (8%), Uganda (7%) and China (6.9%). Its main suppliers are Cameroon (26.2% of total imports), China (17.1%), France (14%), Belgium (7.1%), Italy (5.1%) and the United States (3.6%) (International Trade Centre, 2020). Security issues have a major impact on trade, as illustrated by the three-month closure of the Bangui-Douala corridor early 2021.

CAR's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend which should continue in the years to come. In 2020, CAR exported USD 125 million in goods and imported USD 602 million. In 2018, exports of services reached USD 52 million, while imports amounted to USD 394 million (WTO). In 2019, imports of goods and services increased by 8% compared to 2018, while exports decreased by 2% (World Bank). In 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, global trade volumes decreased sharply. Demand for CAR's diamonds fell while wood exports were affected by supply chain disruptions. Imports also decreased due to lower oil prices and reduced household demand. In 2022, exports are expected to be boosted by surging prices and increased demand for wood; while imports will be driven by higher oil prices (Coface).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 382368606603602
Exports of Goods (million USD) 93140164147125
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a039400
Exports of Services (million USD) n/a05200
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 516228n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -82315-2n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 5157665250
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3640473634
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 1517191616

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

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Main Products

n/a bn USD of products exported in 2017
Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles,...Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, motorized, whether or not fitted with weapons, and parts of such vehicles, n.e.s. 0.0%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 0.0%
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. 0.0%
Containers, incl. containers for the transport of...Containers, incl. containers for the transport of fluids, specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport 0.0%
Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark...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.) 0.0%
See More Products 100.0%
n/a bn USD of products imported in 2017
Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles,...Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, motorized, whether or not fitted with weapons, and parts of such vehicles, n.e.s. 0.0%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 0.0%
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) 0.0%
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) 0.0%
Electric generating sets and rotary convertersElectric generating sets and rotary converters 0.0%
See More Products 100.0%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Main Services

0.1 bn USD of services exported in 2018
43.19%
41.30%
10.14%
2.55%
2.25%
0.47%
0.03%
0.03%
0.02%
n/a%
0.4 bn USD of services imported in 2018
41.57%
40.71%
9.11%
4.00%
3.16%
0.76%
0.60%
0.07%
0.02%
n/a%

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 African Union (AU)

Member of Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)

Member of Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) (in French)

Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
Go to this page to access the contact of the National Service of Industrial Property in the Central African Republic.
 
 
 

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Latest Update: September 2022