That dollar amount reflects a 17.7% advance compared to $243.3 million during 2018.
From 2021 to 2022, the overall value of Belizean exports gained 11.2% from $257.5 million in 2021.
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.
Belize’s Top Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 89.2% of products exported from Belize were bought by importers in: United States of America (24.9% of Belize’s global total), United Kingdom (20.2%), Guatemala (11%), Honduras (6.9%), Spain (6.4%), Trinidad and Tobago (5%), Jamaica (4.7%), Ireland (3.9%), Mexico (2.5%), Taiwan (1.5%), Suriname (1.11%) and Barbados (1.1%).
From a continental perspective, 35.5% of Belize’s exports by value was delivered to European countries while 33.7% was sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Belize shipped another 27.9% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Asia (2.6%), Oceania (0.2%) only Australia, then Africa including South Africa and Ivory Coast (0.06%).
Given Belize’s population of 442,000 people, its total $$286.4 million in 2022 exports translates to roughly $650 for every resident in the Central American nation. That per-capita amount exceeds the average $600 for 2021.
Belize’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Belizean global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Belize.
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: US$84.8 million (29.6% of total exports)
- Fruits, nuts: $41 million (14.3%)
- Fish: $27.1 million (9.5%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $25.2 million (8.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $22.4 million (7.8%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $16.7 million (5.8%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $16.6 million (5.8%)
- Vegetables: $7.2 million (2.5%)
- Wood: $5.7 million (2%)
- Live animals: $3.9 million (1.4%)
Belize’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Live animals (mainly bovine cattle) was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 212.7% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was mineral fuels including oil via a 105.9% advance.
Belize’s shipments of food industry waste and animal fodder posted the third-fastest gain in value, increasing by 78%.
The leading decliner among Belize’s top 10 export categories was vegetables, recording a -16% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, sugar (26.9% of the global total) is Belize’s most valuable exported product. In second place were bananas and plantains (14%) trailed by bran and other residues (8.6%), processed petroleum oils (7.4%), crustaceans including lobsters (6.3%), cigarettes, cigars and cigarellos (5.8%), fruit or vegetable juices (5.6%), moluscs (3.1%), molasses (2.7%), and dried shelled vegetables (2.5%).
Products Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Belize
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.
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: US$83.5 million (Up by 10% since 2021)
- Fruits, nuts: $40.5 million (Down by -11.3%)
- Fish: $27 million (Up by 1.4%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $11.4 million (Up by 2,694%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $10.5 million (Down by -24.2%)
- Vegetables: $4.9 million (Down by -15.6%)
- Live animals: $2.6 million (Up by 1778.4%)
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.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Belize
Belize incurred an overall -$1.1 billion product trade deficit for 2022, up 36.5% from the -$800 million in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$186.1 million (Up by 50.9% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$139.5 million (Up by 24.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$66.7 million (Up by 26%)
- Vehicles: -$65.5 million (Up by 53.2%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: -$49.6 million (Up by 20.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$48.4 million (Up by 23.7%)
- Footwear: -$46.9 million (Up by 49.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$42.1 million (Up by 11%)
- Other chemical goods: -$40.2 million (Up by 26.1%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$39 million (Up by 69.1%)
Belize has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits notably for refined petroleum oils and petroleum gas under the mineral fuels including oil product category.
Belize’s Export Companies
Not one Belizean corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Belize’s total exported goods represent 6.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($4.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 8.9% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Belize’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Belize’s unemployment rate averaged 6.071% in 2022, down from an average 10.188% one year earlier in 2021 per the International Monetary Fund.
Belize’s capital city is Belmopan.
See also Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports, Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports, United States Top 10 Exports and Top Central American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Central America: Belize. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 21, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 21, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Wikipedia, Belize. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Belize. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 21, 2023
Wikipedia, Latvia. Accessed on April 21, 2023