Belize’s Top 10 Exports

Belize flag (courtesy of

Belize flag (FlagPictures)

Once called British Honduras, the independent Commonwealth country now named Belize shipped US$293.3 million worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents a -29.1% drop since 2013 but a 19.1% gain from 2016 to 2017.

As of June 2018, Belize’s exported goods were valued at $135.9 million down -23.4% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

The only country in Central America having English as its official language, Belize is located along Central America’s eastern cost and shares its northern land border with Mexico. In the real world, however, English-based Kriol (also called Belizean Creole) is the language most native Belizeans speak from day to day.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Belize’s exported goods plus services represent 57.8% of total Belizean economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, almost half (48.7%) of Belizean exports by value were delivered to European countries including 26.2% sold to importers in the United Kingdom. Belize shipped another 27.6% worth of goods to North America while 20.1% were sold to customers in Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean. A modest 3.4% in Belizean goods arrived in Asia.

Given Belize’s population of 360,346 people, its total $293.3 million in 2017 exports translates to roughly $800 for every resident in that country.

Belize’s unemployment rate was forecast to be 7% as of February 2018, per Trading Economics.

Belize’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Belizean global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Belize.

From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, sugar is Belize’s most valuable exported product followed by bananas or plantains, fruit and vegetable juices, crustaceans including lobsters, miscellaneous iron or steel items and crude oil.

  1. Sugar, sugar confectionery: US$78.9 million (26.9% of total exports)
  2. Fruits, nuts: $41.9 million (14.3%)
  3. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $34.5 million (11.8%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $21 million (7.2%)
  5. Fish: $20.8 million (7.1%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: $15.4 million (5.2%)
  7. Perfumes, cosmetics: $11.5 million (3.9%)
  8. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $9.8 million (3.4%)
  9. Wood: $7.3 million (2.5%)
  10. Vegetables: $7.3 million (2.5%)

Belize’s top 10 exports accounted for 84.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Articles of iron or steel was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 1,328% year over year since 2016.

In second place for improving export sales was the perfumes and cosmetics category which was up by 110.1% led by essential oils.

Belizean sugar shipments posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 43.5%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Belizean export categories were vegetable, fruit or nut preparations which fell -23.7%.


The following types of Belizean product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Sugar, sugar confectionery: US$76.7 million (Up by 44.3% since 2016)
  2. Fruits, nuts: $41 million (Up by 10.1%)
  3. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $28.7 million (Down by -27.6%)
  4. Fish: $20.6 million (Down by -2.2%)
  5. Vegetables: $4.5 million (Down by -6.2%)
  6. Perfumes, cosmetics: $2.2 million (Down by -298.6%)
  7. Cotton: $80,000 (Down by -240.4%)
  8. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $9,000 (Up by 350%)

Belize has highly positive net exports in the international trade particularly for sugar and molasses. In turn, these cashflows indicate Belize’s strong competitive advantages under the sugar and sugar confectionery product category.


Overall Belize incurred a -$614.4 million product trade deficit for 2017, down by -13% from the -$706.3 million in red ink one year earlier.

As of June 2018, Belize’s trade deficit stood at -$325.7 million up 23.3% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Below are exports from Belize that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Belize’s goods trail Belizean importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$86 million (Down by -9.4% since 2016)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$83 million (Up by 6.5%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$53.5 million (Down by -19.3%)
  4. Vehicles: -$48.1 million (Down by -25.7%)
  5. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: -$34.7 million (Down by -21.1%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: -$30.7 million (Down by -7.7%)
  7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$24 million (Up by 18.1%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$23.7 million (Down by -10.2%)
  9. Miscellaneous food preparations: -$21 million (Down by -3.2%)
  10. Footwear: -$21 million (Up by 10.1%)

Belize has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits notably for computers, refined petroleum oils and petroleum gas.


Belizean Export Companies

Not one Belizean corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2017.
Wikipedia does list exports-related companies from Belize. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Amandala (tabloid newspaper)
  • Belize Bank (banking)
  • Belize Telemedia Limited (mobile telecommunications)
  • Great Belize Productions (broadcasting production)
  • Love Belize Television (cable television)
  • Maya Island Air (airliner)
  • RSV Media Center (broadcaster including radio)
  • Smartnet IBC Ltd (website communities for artists)
  • Speednet Communications (telecommunications)
  • Tropic Air (airliner)

Belize’s capital city is Belmopan.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports, Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports and Top Central American Export Countries

Research Sources:
FlagPictures, Flag of Belize. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 4, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 4, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 4, 2018

The World Factbook, Central America and Caribbean: Belize. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Wikipedia, Belize. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Belize. Accessed on September 4, 2018

World’s Top Countries, World’s Richest Countries By GDP PPP. Accessed on September 4, 2018