Afghanistan Trade, Exports and Imports



Afghanistan is an economically downtrodden country that relies highly on farming and livestock. There was an astronomical decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country in the last two decades of the 20th century. The contributing factors included disruption in trade and transport, and loss of capital and labor. The economic activities were widely interrupted by the Soviet invasion and civil war, which were responsible for the mass destruction of the country’s limited infrastructure. However, the fall on the Taliban forces in 2001 and infusion of billions of US dollars improved trading significantly. Trading is mainly done with neighboring countries.


History of Afghanistan Trade, Exports and Imports

Although Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, very little has been done to explore them. Some of these resources are extensive deposits of natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, and precious and semiprecious stones. However, the country’s rugged terrain and lack of transportation network restrict trade activities. In the 1980s, export of natural gas was at its peak, with $300 million in export revenues annually. However, 90% of this revenue was utilized for the payment of imports and debts to the Soviet Union. The Afghan economy also rode on goods smuggled into Pakistan.


Afghanistan Trade, Exports and Imports Statistics

There is not enough information and guaranteed statistics available about the economy of Afghanistan, but here are some estimates:


Exports: $603 million (2008)

Imports: $8.27 billion (2008)

Exports-to-GDP ratio: 3,5 % (2008)

Imports-to-GDP ratio: 47,6 % (2008)

Trade-to-GDP ratio: 51,1 % (2008)

(Note: Trade-to-GDP ratio = (Exports + Imports) / GDP)


Exports Partners

The major export partners of Afghanistan include (figures as of 2008):

  • India 23.5%

  • Pakistan 17.7%

  • US 16.5%

  • Tajikistan 12.8%

  • Netherlands 6.9%


Imports Partners

The major import partners of Afghanistan include (figures as of 2008):

  • Pakistan 36%

  • US 9.3%

  • Germany 7.5%

  • India 6.9%


Afghanistan Trade, Exports and Imports Commodities

The following are the major commodities that form the basis of Afghanistan’s economy:

  • Export commodities include opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems.

  • Imports include machinery and other capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products.