BELIZE’S TRADE STATUS
*Updated 29 May 2020
Belize’s export-reach has reached to over eighty (80) countries in the last five years, from large traditional markets like the United Kingdom (UK) and the USA, to growing markets like Hong Kong, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and even on to smaller markets like St. Maarten and Aruba. Like in most developing countries, the import trade exceeds the level of export trade due to the level of industrialization and market size in the national economy.
As the graph below indicates, export revenues climbed from BZ$500 million at the start of the decade and peaked close to BZ$700 million in 2011. This was supported by existing vibrancies in key industries such as Sugar, Citrus, Banana, Shrimp and Petroleum. With the gradual waning of petroleum extraction and production in shrimp, banana, and citrus, export figures declined to just over BZ$500 million in 2015 and slipped even lower in the years following, with the latest export figure approximating at BZ$413 million in 2019. During that same period, import trade has been on a steady growth plane from just over BZ$1 billion and peaking at BZ$1.7 billion in 2015, with the latest 2019 figure totaling to BZ$1.6 billion.
A synopsis of Belize’s export trade markets in 2019 indicates the UK and the US have absorbed about 57% of Belize’s goods. Traditionally, these two markets are, and continue to be, the most significant import trade partners for Belize. With the decline of petroleum, papayas and other key crops, the UK has overtaken the US to be Belize’s biggest importer.
Other growing importing countries include other EU countries, such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, CARICOM member states, and Central American countries.
Belize is still considered a vulnerable economy with a small export basket of goods. As the chart proves, more than 1/2 of all exports is dependent on two markets: the US and the UK. Along with the other 5 top importers, they are responsible for almost 90% of importation of Belizean goods.