Jamaica Trade, Exports and Imports


Jamaica’s economy is significantly dependent on trade. The country’s vast resources of bauxite and alumina allow it to export significant quantities of the two commodities. Other export items include sugar, banana, coffee, beverages, tobacco and chemicals. The United States, which is Jamaica’s leading trade partner, accounts for nearly 40% of Jamaica’s exports and imports. Jamaica has a sizeable merchandise trade deficit due to its large-scale import of oil and food items.

Highlights of Jamaica Trade, Exports and Imports

  • Jamaica’s significant bauxite deposits, the second largest in the world after Australia, allow it to export large quantities of the commodity.

  • The US supplies nearly half of Jamaica’s food needs.

  • The country’s garment exports have declined to near zero in the past few years, mainly due to increased competition and high cost of operations.

  • Trade contributes nearly 1/4th of Jamaica’s GDP, while employing one-sixth of the country’s labor force.

  • Jamaica’s energy needs are fully met by petroleum imports.

  • Tourist arrivals contribute significantly to the country’s foreign exchange inflows.

  • Remittances from abroad contribute nearly 20% of the country’s GDP.

  • The country’s trade deficit with CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) ballooned to $1.6 billion in 2008 largely due to Trinidad & Tobago’s discriminatory energy pricing.

  • Mineral fuels are the top contributors to Jamaica’s import bill followed by food items.

  • Jamaica’s trade deficit with the US and other nations declined to $1.349 billion in 2009 from $2.745 billion in year 2008.

 Jamaica Exports

Jamaica’s total exports in 2009 stood at $1.422 billion, down from $2.602 billion in 2008. Major items exported by the Caribbean nation are alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel and mineral fuels. While 40% of the exports were to the US, another 10.7% were meant for Canada, 9.3% for Netherlands, 5.4% for France and 5.3% for Russia, according to 2008 estimates.


Jamaica Imports

Jamaica’s imports have declined from $7.185 billion in 2008 to $4.625 billion in 2009. The major commodities imported by Jamaica include food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment and construction materials. Nearly 40% of the imports were from the US while another 17.6% came from Trinidad and Tobago and 11.7% from Venezuela.