Cuba: Exports And Imports

A tobacco field in Cuba. Tobacco is one of the chief export products of Cuba.
A tobacco field in Cuba. Tobacco is one of the chief export products of Cuba.

Cuba: Exports and Imports

Cuba is a developing country in Latin America with a state-controlled planned economy that is mainly based on service and industry. The public sector employs about 76% of the population while the remaining is the private sector. In 2009, the country had a Human Development Index of 0.863 ranking 51st out of 182 countries. Cuba is the 140th largest world exporter and the 126th largest importer in the world. The country exported $1.74B and imported $5.91B worth of goods, the country’s imports increased at a rate of 3.7% between 2009 and 2014 while the exports decreased at an annual rate of -0.1% during the same period.

Cuba: Imports

Cuba’s main imports include wheat which makes up 3.96% of the total exports at $234M, followed by refined petroleum which accounts for 3.87% of the total imports at $228M. Other imports are concentrated milk at $207M, corn at $204M, and poultry meat at $196M. Cuba also imports packaged medicaments and machinery. Cuba relies heavily on imported goods for her industries as well as local consumption. Import partners to Cuba include China at $1.05B followed by Spain at $920M, Brazil at $507M, Canada at $389M, and Mexico at $360M. A lot of food imports to Cuba are from the US.

Cuba: Exports

Cuba exports some products that are locally produced to different countries. In 2014, Cuba’s exports were valued at $1.74B. The primary export products are raw sugar contributing to 22.5% of the total export value at $392M followed closely by refined petroleum at $314M. Other exports are rolled tobacco at $236M, hard liquor at $116M, and raw nickel at $108M. Cuba also exports citrus fruits, coffee, fish, and services such as healthcare. Cuba exports most of her products to China at $311M, the Netherlands $157M, Spain $141M, Senegal $92M, and the UK 67.3M. Other export partners include Venezuela.

Trade Balance

Cuba had trade balance of -4.17B in 2014 with exports valued at $1.74B while the imports were $5.91B. Cuba’s over-reliance on imported goods has led to an increase in the deficit as well as low productivity driving the country into deeper debt. By 2014, the public debt amounted to $25.21B. Some of the countries such as the US from which Cuba imports her food have put a ban on all her product and her imports from the US have to be paid for in cash. Cuba has an estimated nominal GDP of about $72B with an estimated growth rate of 4.7% and inflation estimated at 4.4%.

Significance Of Cuba In Foreign Trade

Cuba’s involvement in international trade is important both to the nation and her partners. The goods it exports to other countries play a role in the economies of those countries as well as earning from the same. This trade has also fostered ties between her and other countries leading to foreign investors going to Cuba. Cuban imports have played a significant role in the establishment and growth of industries as well as expansion in the private sector. Being a developing country, her relations with other nations has enhanced diplomatic ties enabling Cuba to access funding facilities.


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