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 45% of the country's GDP in 2021 (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 (45.25% of total exports), diamonds (19.88%), vehicles (12.64%), wood (12.35%) and machinery (3.4%). CAR's main imports comprise electrical equipment (19.68% of total imports), medicines (8.64%), furniture (6.33%), mineral fuels (6.11%), and machinery (5.72%) (International Trade Centre, 2021). CAR's main customers are the United Arab Emirates (47.6% of total imports), Italy (14.9%), France (11.1%), China (6.2%) and Mauritania (4.3%). Its main suppliers are Cameroon (34.4% of total imports), China (10.5%), France (10%), Nigeria (5%) and India (4.8%) (International Trade Centre, 2021). 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 2021, CAR exported USD 162 million in goods and imported USD 590 million. In 2018, exports of services reached USD 52 million, while imports amounted to USD 394 million (WTO). In 2021, imports of goods and services decreased by 10% compared to 2020, while exports decreased by 6% (World Bank). After decreasing in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and supply chain disruptions, global trade volumes recovered. Since 2022, exports are boosted by surging prices and increased demand for wood; while imports are driven by higher oil prices (Coface).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 368606603602590
Exports of Goods (million USD) 140164147125162
Imports of Services (million USD) 0394000
Exports of Services (million USD) 052000
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 16-551-10
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 23-522-3-6
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 5750505045
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4034343430
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 1716161514

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

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United Arab Emirates 24.6%
Sweden 15.4%
France 10.4%
Switzerland 8.1%
Uganda 7.0%
See More Countries 34.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Cameroon 26.2%
China 17.1%
France 14.0%
Belgium 7.1%
Italy 5.1%
See More Countries 30.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export Controls

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows


Main Services

0.1 bn USD of services exported in 2018
0.4 bn USD of services imported in 2018

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 the World Trade Organization (WTO)
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 2023