Puerto Rico Trade, Exports and Imports


 Puerto Rico is an "unincorporated territory" of the United States and its economy relies mainly on federal aid from the US government. The island nation has very little natural resources of economic value and its manufacturing industry largely comprises of units set up by US companies. Pharmaceuticals, electronics, textiles, petrochemicals, processed foods, clothing and textiles are the major industries in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s trade and commerce continues to be subject to US congressional authority.


Puerto Rico is recognized as being part of the customs territory of the United States and all shipments between Puerto Rico and the US are not subject to import duties. However, shipments from outside the customs territory are all subject to the same import duty rates, regardless of whether the destination is the US or Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Rico Trade, Exports and Imports: Highlights

  • The US is the main trading partner of Puerto Rico and accounts for nearly 90% of latter’s exports and over 55% of its imports.

  • The major items exported by Puerto Rico are chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates and medical equipment.

  • Most of its imports are to the US, with small proportions going to the Netherlands, Dominican Republic and the UK.

  • Chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish and petroleum products are the major items constituting Puerto Rico’s imports.

  • Ireland and Japan are the other import partners of Puerto Rico and accounted for nearly 23% and 6% of the island nations exports, respectively, in 2006.

  • The value of country’s exports stood at $46.9 billion f.o.b. according to the 2001 figures.

  • The value of country’s imports stood at $29.1 billion c.i.f. according to the 2001 figures.

  • Puerto Rico’s trade with foreign countries is included in the US trade data, along with the figures for the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

  • However, the figures for export and import between the US and Puerto Rico are  mentioned as supplementary information.

  • Most of the industrial units in Puerto Rico import raw materials from the US, process it in the island nation and export the finished product back to the US.

  • Tourist inflows remain an import source of foreign exchange for Puerto Rico.