Cuba Trade, Exports and Imports

March 11, 2010Cubaby EconomyWatch Content


 Cuba’s economy is significantly dependant on imports and the Cuban trade deficit stood at 56% of the country’s total trade in 2008. The level of deficit has risen from 46% in 2007 and the situation is expected to have worsened in 2009. The continued increase in the level of imports and the trade deficit is a matter of serious concern for the Cuban economy, which is highly dependant on exports for its income. A high deficit poses a serious threat to the island nation’s stability, prosperity and long term growth prospects.


Cuba Trade, Exports and Imports: Highlights 

  • More than 80% of all food consumed in Cuba is imported due to a drastic decline in the country’s farm output since 2001.

  • Tourism and family remittances are the main source of foreign exchange in Cuba.

  • Cuba exports the services of its doctors and health personnel to other countries.

  • Cuba's trading gap with Venezuela has jumped by 575% from $706 million in 2002 to $4.06 billion in 2008.

  • Venezuela, which supplies subsidized oil to Cuba, is the latter’s main trading partner and accounts for nearly 27% of the total foreign trade of the island nation.

  • China is also a major trading partner of Cuba and accounts for 12% of its foreign trade.

  • The US is Cuba’s main food supplier and the trade deficit between the two countries continues to grow, since a trade embargo bans all Cuban exports to the US. Also all US exports to Cuba need to paid for in cash.

  • The Netherlands and Canada are major purchasers of nickel from Cuba.

  • Cuba’s deficit with its top 20 trading partners has widened in recent years.

Cuba Exports

Cuba exported goods worth $3.253 billion in 2009, according to the latest estimates. This was lower than the 2008 figure of $3.68 billion. The island nation exported sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical products, citrus and coffee. Amongst its various trading partners, nearly 28% of the exports were to Canada, 27% to China, 6% to China and over 5% to the Netherlands.


Cuba Imports

Cuba’s imports have declined from $14.25 billion in 2008 to $10.86 billion in 2009. The island nation’s imports petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals. Cuba’s major trading partners are Venezuela, which accounts for nearly 30% of all imports, China (12%), Spain (10%), Canada (6.4%), the US (6.3%) and Brazil (4.6%).



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