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Foreign Trade in Figures

Ethiopia's trade openness is not fully realized, with a foreign trade-to-GDP ratio of 24% (World Bank, latest data available). It is a member of the IGAD and the COMESA but has not yet joined the free trade zone. Ethiopia has long been in the process of joining the WTO, and as part of this effort, the government is restructuring customs tariffs to rationalize investment opportunities, including introducing lower duties on raw materials and semi-finished products. Additionally, Ethiopia signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and established special economic zones offering tax incentives and customs duties exemptions to investors. The country's primary exports include coffee (49.1%), other vegetables (7.5%), cut flowers and flower buds (7.4%), other oilseeds and oleaginous fruits (6.8%), and dried leguminous vegetables (5.6%). Major imports consist of palm oil (10.8%), wheat and meslin (5.2%), mineral or chemical fertilizers (4.7%), and motor cars and other vehicles (4.5%) (data from Comtrade 2022).

According to Comtrade data for 2022, Ethiopia's main export destinations were the United States (10.8%), Saudi Arabia (8.7%), Somalia (8.6%), Germany (8.4%), and the Netherlands (7.0%), while imports primarily originated from China (30.0%), India (14.3%), the United States (6.7%), Turkey (4.5%), and Morocco (4.2%). Peace agreements with Eritrea are expected to boost economic relations between the two countries, while the water-sharing agreement with Egypt and Sudan over the Nile River dam will alleviate tensions and foster economic cooperation among neighboring nations. However, the U.S. decision to remove Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade program due to the conflict in the Tigray region and alleged human rights violations is likely to have negative repercussions on trade.

Ethiopia's trade balance remains structurally in deficit, a trend driven by the country's investment-led economy, which incentivizes imports. Weather phenomena also influence the trade balance, sometimes necessitating grain imports during droughts despite Ethiopia's status as a significant agricultural producer. In 2022, goods imports totaled USD 18.6 billion, while exports reached USD 3.9 billion (a 16.8% increase in imports and a 0.5% increase in exports year-on-year). Additionally, Ethiopia spent USD 7.4 billion on imports of services, while exports generated USD 7 billion (data WTO). The country's trade balance, according to the World Bank, was negative by 10.1% of GDP, up from 9% the previous year.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 15,30514,55413,11515,97318,663
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,7042,7413,2583,9493,970
Imports of Services (million USD) 6,2036,1715,4086,5267,452
Exports of Services (million USD) 4,9194,8424,4625,5667,001

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 31.228.824.024.326.6
Trade Balance (million USD) -11,021-10,310-8,509-10,403-12,765
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -12,305-11,639-9,455-11,363-13,217
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -6.6-5.3-2.013.3n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.4-5.8-5.419.0n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 22.820.916.916.718.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 8.47.97.17.68.2

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 7.012.910.3-3.810.2
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -6.112.25.17.510.6

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Member of African Union

Member of Common Market for Eastern and Souther Africa (COMESA)

Member of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 10.8%
Saudi Arabia 8.7%
Somalia 8.6%
Germany 8.4%
Netherlands 7.0%
See More Countries 56.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 30.0%
India 14.3%
United States 6.7%
Türkiye 4.5%
Morocco 4.2%
See More Countries 40.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

3.1 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated;...Coffee, whether or not roasted or decaffeinated; coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing coffee in any proportion 49.1%
Other vegetables, fresh or chilled (excl. potatoes...Other vegetables, fresh or chilled (excl. potatoes, tomatoes, alliaceous vegetables, edible brassicas, lettuce "Lactuca sativa" and chicory "Cichorium spp.", carrots, turnips, salad beetroot, salsify, celeriac, radishes and similar edible roots, cucumbers and gherkins, and leguminous vegatables) 7.5%
Cut flowers and flower buds of a kind suitable for...Cut flowers and flower buds of a kind suitable for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh, dried, dyed, bleached, impregnated or otherwise prepared 7.4%
Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or...Other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits, whether or not broken (excl. edible nuts, olives, soya beans, groundnuts, copra, linseed, rape or colza seeds and sunflower seeds) 6.8%
Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or...Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or not skinned or split 5.6%
See More Products 23.5%
16.5 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined...Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 5.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 5.4%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 5.2%
Mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or...Mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or three of the fertilising elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilisers (excl. pure animal or vegetable fertilisers or mineral or chemical nitrogenous, phosphatic or potassic fertilisers); animal, vegetable, mineral or chemical fertilisers in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight of <= 10 kg 4.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.5%
See More Products 74.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Actualitzacions: April 2024

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