Country’s Foreign Trade

Uganda, which has the foreign trade outlook of a typical African country, is a country with a significant foreign trade deficit. According to 2018 ITC data, Uganda has an export of 3.1 billion dollars, an import of 6.7 billion dollars and a foreign trade volume of 9.8 billion dollars and has a foreign trade deficit of around 3.6 billion dollars.

Main Products in Export

Uganda’s exports amounted to around 3.1 billion dollars in 2018. Gold, coffee, petroleum oils, sugar, processed seafood, pulses, corn and tea are the main products it exports. Coffee and gold alone account for about 30% of Uganda’s exports.

Major Products in Import

Petroleum oils constitute about 1/5 of Uganda’s imports. Gold, pharmaceuticals, palm oil, flat rolled products of iron or steel, passenger cars, wheat and motor vehicles for the transport of goods are the other most imported products.

Foreign Trade by Major Countries

Surrounding countries such as Kenya, UAE, South Sudan, Democratic Congo and Rwanda have an important place in Uganda’s exports. European countries such as Italy, the Netherlands and Germany are other important markets. Turkey ranks 20th in Uganda’s exports with a share of 0.6%.

The most important countries that Uganda imports from are China and India. India, which had a share of around 15% in Uganda’s imports in previous years, had a share of over 25% in Uganda’s total imports in 2013, 2014 and 2015, while it fell to the second rank after China in 2016 and 2017. Other important suppliers of Uganda are listed as UAE, S. Arabia, Kenya, Japan, GAC, Tanzania, Indonesia and Germany. Turkey, which has a share of 0.7% in Uganda’s imports, ranks 23rd.

Foreign Trade Policy

In the early 1980s, a series of measures were taken by the Government to encourage and diversify exports, reduce foreign intervention in the economy, ensure growth and restore the country’s reputation for fiscal/monetary policies. The liberalization of trade and the exchange rate played an important role in this context and the monopolies that dominated the market disappeared.

Although the country does not receive high ratings by investors, according to the World Bank survey, investors seem satisfied with the Government’s foreign exchange regime and trade policy (especially imports). According to the African Competitiveness Report, Uganda’s economy stands out as the most open economy among sub-Saharan African countries, where current and capital flows are liberalized and domestic trade, foreign exchange and financial markets are liberalized. As a result of these policies, especially since 2010, export and import figures have shown significant improvement.

 Tariffs and Other Taxes

Customs Duties

Uganda is a member of the East African Community (EAC) customs union, along with Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. Customs tariff, rules of origin, import bans and trade regulations have been aligned with the EAC. Uganda applies a common external tariff (CET) set by the EAC on products imported with CIF.

The East African Community Customs Enforcement Act (EACCM) regulates the administration and administration of customs duties on imports in Uganda and the region. Customs duty is not charged on goods and equipment used in aid-supported projects. However, the Law did not clearly define “aid-supported projects”. In addition, goods imported by international and regional diplomatic accreditation organizations and aid organizations are also exempt from import duties. However, the law did not define the list of these institutions/organizations.

VAT and Other Taxes

Uganda’s main taxes are income tax on individuals and companies, excise taxes and value added tax. While the income tax rate is 30% for individuals and companies, the VAT rate is 18%. All of these taxes are determined by the Central Government.



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