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Foreign Trade in Figures

Djibouti’s economy is extremely open to external trade, which represents 340% of GDP, the fourth-highest ratio in the world (World Bank, latest data available). The country has a free trade regime and a free-trade zone status in Eastern Africa. It is a member of the WTO, the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), the Arab League, and the African Union, has signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and a number of bilateral agreements. Djibouti mainly exports or re-exports palm oil (55.2% of total exports), chlorides (16.6%), seed oils (4.9%), flax yarn (2.5%), and bovine (1.9%); whereas imports are led by refined petroleum (10.6%), palm oil (7%), mixed mineral or chemical fertilizers (6.3%), cars (3.8%), and raw sugar (3.4% - data OEC 2022).

Djibouti’s main customers are Ethiopia (61.4% of total), China (16.6% of total), India (7.2%), Jordan (2.1%), and the Central African Republic (1.4%). The country's main suppliers are China (37.7%), United Arab Emirates (20%), India (10.1%), Morocco (6.2%), and Turkey (5.9%). The economies of Ethiopia and Djibouti are highly interdependent via the Port of Djibouti, which traditionally constituted the only maritime outsource for the landlocked territory of Ethiopia.

Djibouti’s trade balance is structurally negative, as it does not export much except cattle and imports large amounts of petroleum products, food, and capital goods. However, the country has a surplus in terms of exports in the service sector, largely due to port services fees for re-import and re-exports. In 2022, exports of goods amounted to USD 4.5 billion whereas imports reached USD 5.4 billion (WTO). Concerning services, exports stood at USD 1.1 billion against USD 632 million in imports. The country’s trade balance was estimated to be negative by 2.2% of GDP in 2022, according to the World Bank. In the same year, the trade deficit widened due to the rising cost of oil and foodstuffs.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 4,1382,9114,8704,3284,663
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,9962,7854,1474,6015,002
Imports of Services (million USD) 62651407690
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,15491001,0730
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 10-30n/an/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 9-30n/an/an/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -142-127-723n/an/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 321223n/an/an/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 154107n/an/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 167116n/an/an/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties and Local Taxes


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA);
Member of African Union;
Member of Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD;
Member of Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Useful Resources
Djibouti Customs
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The Djibouti Office of Industrial and Commercial Property (ODPIC), Ministry of Trade and Industry

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Latest Update: May 2024

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