Photo description: A ship arrives at the harbour of Oranjestad in St Eustatius

How much were imports and exports in 2021?

In 2021, goods imports on Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius amounted to 292, 22 and 39 million US dollars, respectively. The value of goods exports from Bonaire was 10 million US dollars. For Saba and St Eustatius, exports stood at around 1 million US dollars in 2021.

Imports and exports of goods, Bonaire (million USD)
Year Import value Export value Trade balance
2017 212.8 10.9 -201.9
2018 223.2 9.3 -213.9
2019 252.6 12.0 -240.6
2020 243.8 8.0 -235.8
2021 291.5 9.7 -281.8

Majority of goods imported

Since almost no manufacturing or production takes place on the islands, most goods need to be imported. This results in structural trade deficits. In 2021, Bonaire’s trade deficit was 282 million US dollars, one-fifth more than in the previous year. That year, the island’s trade deficit decreased for the first time in six years.

282 million USD was Bonaire’s trade deficit in 2021

Trade deficit development

Bonaire’s trade deficit grew by 46 million US dollars relative to 2020. Most of this growth came from machinery and transport equipment (19 million US dollars), followed by food and live animals (10 million US dollars).

Trade deficit, Bonaire (million USD)
Product group 2021 2020
Machinery and transport equipment 77.0 58.2
Food and live animals 55.1 45.2
Manufactured goods 44.3 41.7
Chemicals and related products 27.6 25.2
Beverages and tobacco 22.9 19.8
Other goods 54.9 45.8

Saba’s trade deficit increased by 5 percent to 22 million US dollars in 2021. The trade deficit of St Eustatius decreased for the fourth year in a row. The island imported USD 38 million more in goods than it exported in 2021.

Trade deficits, Saba and St Eustatius (million USD)
Year Saba St Eustatius
2017 17.0 52.3
2018 20.4 46.8
2019 20.8 44.0
2020 20.7 39.2
2021 21.7 37.6

On Bonaire, almost half of the year-on-year import growth (48 million US dollars) occurred in the fourth quarter of 2021. The 88 million US dollar import value in Q4 was the highest after measurements began in 2011. Furthermore, the year-on-year import growth on Bonaire continued in Q1 2022, with a 17-percent increase to a total of 77 million US dollars.

Saba’s goods imports amounted to 7 million US dollars in Q1 2022, resulting in a value that was almost a third higher year-on-year and the highest since Q3 2015. Following a drop in import value over 2021, St Eustatius also imported a fifth less in goods in Q1 2022. Imports amounted to 9 million US dollars in this quarter.

This infographic shows a contour of the island of St Eustatius, showing the number of residents, percentage of main language spoken and the goods imports. 81 % USD 39 3,242 English main language spoken ** residents * * 1 January 2022 ** 2021

More information about international trade on the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands


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CBS in the Caribbean Netherlands

Statistics Netherlands opened an office on Bonaire in 2010. The Bonaire office is responsible for all statistics referring to the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, compiling statistics about prices, population, labour, income, the economy, tourism and trade.

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