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Foreign Trade in Figures

Traditionally, the Central African Republic (CAR) is highly favorable to international trade and international trade represents around 45% of the country's GDP (World Bank, latest data available). 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) and of WTO. The country mainly exports gold (44.4% of the total), parts and accessories for tractors (14.1%), diamonds (12.2%), and electrical machines and apparatus (7%); whereas imports are led by engines and motors (12%), medicaments (6.7%), powered aircraft (6.3%), prefabricated buildings (4.8%), petroleum oils (4.1%), and human blood (2.5% - International Trade Centre, 2022).

CAR's main customers are the United Arab Emirates (40.9%), Pakistan (19.8%), Italy (12.6%), France (9%), and Cameroon (7.2%). Its main suppliers are Cameroon (40.2%), United States of America (9.7%), France (8.1%), China (7.9%), Belgium (3.4%), and India (3.1% - International Trade Centre, 2022).

CAR's trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend which should continue in the years to come. In 2022, CAR exported USD 143 million in goods and imported USD 496 million (data WTO). As per the latest data available, in 2020, the country exported USD 291 million worth of services, vis-à-vis 354 million in imports. In 2022, the World Bank estimated the country’s trade deficit to account for 20.6% of GDP, up from 17.7% one year earlier.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 613506458529502
Exports of Goods (million USD) 148134150143137
Imports of Services (million USD) 46935400n/a
Exports of Services (million USD) 35729100n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 51-107n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2-3-6-7n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 50504546n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 34343033n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 16151413n/a

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

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United Arab Emirates 40.9%
Pakistan 19.8%
France 9.0%
Cameroon 7.2%
Switzerland 2.8%
See More Countries 20.3%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Cameroon 40.2%
United States 9.7%
France 8.1%
China 7.9%
Belgium 3.4%
See More Countries 30.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.1 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 44.4%
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. 14.1%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 12.2%
Electrical machines and apparatus, having...Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, n.e.s. in chapter 85 and parts thereof 7.0%
Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles,...Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, motorised, whether or not fitted with weapons, and parts of such vehicles, n.e.s. 6.6%
See More Products 15.8%
0.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Engines and motors (excl. steam turbines, internal...Engines and motors (excl. steam turbines, internal combustion piston engine, hydraulic turbines, water wheels, gas turbines and electric motors); parts thereof 12.0%
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) 6.7%
Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes...Powered aircraft "e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes"; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 6.3%
Prefabricated buildings, whether or not complete...Prefabricated buildings, whether or not complete or already assembled 4.8%
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 4.1%
See More Products 66.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


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

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 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: May 2024