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Foreign Trade in Figures

Since the partition of the country, the share of foreign trade in Sudan’s GDP dropped dramatically. From around 37% of GDP in 2008, foreign trade decreased to account for less than 3% of GDP in 2022 (World Bank, latest data available). Sudan’s customs duties are relatively high, and non-tariff barriers impose additional severe impediments on trade flows (Heritage Foundation). Political uncertainty, tensions in Darfur and with Chad, as well as poor coordination among government agencies are limiting the development of foreign trade. Sudan mainly exports gold (42.0%), crude petroleum (12.0%), other oily seeds (11.9%), groundnuts (7.7%), and raw cotton (6.9%); whereas imports are led by raw sugar (10.5%), wheat (5.5%), refined petroleum (4.1%), jewelry (3.2%), and gold (2.8% - data OEC 2022).

Sudan’s main export partners are the United Arab Emirates (43.1%), China (15.9%), Italy (8.3%), Egypt (7.8%), and Turkey (4.2%). China (22.2% of total imports) is the main supplier, followed by the United Arab Emirates (19.8%), India (18.4%), Egypt (8.6%), and Turkey (4.9% - data OEC for 2022). The country is a member of several regional and international trade organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the African Union (AU), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). It has also signed several bilateral and regional trade agreements to promote trade with other countries, including the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA), the Arab Free Trade Area, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Sudan's trade balance has been in deficit since 2012, with South Sudan now benefiting from oil revenues. However, an agreement signed in 2013 allocates part of this income to the transit countries, namely Sudan, which owns the oil transport infrastructure. Despite the depreciation of the Sudanese pound, imports will remain significant, as they are made up of basic necessities; whereas exports may suffer from the volatility of oil prices and production. An important diversification policy has been implemented with the development of gold and ethanol and the strengthening of exports in its traditional sectors. In 2022, Sudan exported USD 4.3 billion in goods and imported USD 11.1 billion (-12.9% and +12.1% year-on-year, respectively). Exports of services amounted to USD 1.55 billion while imports reached USD 1.59 billion (WTO). Although no reliable figures are available at the time of publication, the resurgence of conflict since April 2023 has significantly impacted foreign trade. Gold exports to Dubai have halted completely due to the closure of Sudanese airspace to most flights, disrupting air shipments.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 9,2919,8389,89411,0957,100
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,7353,8035,0274,3574,780
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,4251,6661,3661,5900
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,3671,2631,6371,5510
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 14-9-16n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 7524n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -4,627-5,051-3,877-5,628n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 261043n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 18521n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 8522n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - 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

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 Economic Cooperation
Member of COMESA - Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area(GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.
Useful Resources
Sudan Customs
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Intellectual Property Department, Ministry of Justice website.

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Latest Update: May 2024