Kiribati Trade

Source: Asian Development Bank (in million USD)

Trade balance for the last 5 years – exports, imports, balance

Trade balance 2013-2017
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Export 6,7 5.4 6,7 6.9 5.7
Importation 97.1 95.0 72.7 102.1 109.3
Balance -90.4 -89.6 -65.0 -95.2 -103.6

Territorial structure – position in (k) EU

The largest export partners are (in 2016):

  • 1 Malaysia 33.2%
  • 2 US 21.2%
  • 3 Fiji 14.9%
  • 4 New Zealand 14.4%
  • 5 Japan 4.3%
  • 9 EU28 0.8%

The largest import partners are (in 2016):

  • 1 Australia 21.4%
  • 2 Fiji 21.4%
  • 3 China 9.4%
  • 4 New Zealand 8.0%
  • 5 Singapore 7.4
  • 10 EU28 3%

Source: Eurostat

Commodity structure

Export commodities include:

  • copra
  • coconuts
  • Seaweed
  • fish

The most important imported commodities include:

  • food and live animals
  • machinery and equipment
  • means of transport
  • fuel
  • tobacco

Free trade zones (VT parks, investment zones)

The authors do not state.

Investments – foreign direct investments in the territory (sectoral and territorial structure)

According to UNCTAD, the total foreign direct investment in the territory in 2015 was 1.06 million USD (data for 2016 are not known), which is significantly less than in the previous year. However, 2014 was very exceptional with 4.44% of GDP.

  • Allcountrylist: Overview of major industries in Kiribati, including mining, construction, transportation, tourism, and foreign trade.

Investments – conditions for entry of foreign capital (restrictions, incentives for investors)

The inflow of foreign investment is governed by the Foreign Investment Act of 1985, the Foreign Investment Regulation of 1986, the Foreign Investment Policy of 1996 and some other documents relating to protected industries, areas and activities. The investment can be wholly owned by a foreign entity or in the form of a joint venture with a Kiribati entity or its government. State participation in foreign investment can be in the form of co-financing or the provision of land.

The Foreign Investment Commission, chaired by the Secretary of State for Trade, Industry and Tourism, reviews proposals for foreign investment. This commission issues approval for investments in the amount of up to 250,000. AUD (the local currency is the Australian dollar), the government has the final say on major investments. The assessment of the application takes 2-3 months and the license approving the investment is granted according to the volume of invested funds for 5 years (up to million USD), 10 years (up to 5 million USD) and 20 years (over 5 million USD). There is no recorded case of expropriation of a foreign investment, but the constitution allows such a possibility in the interests of the health and safety of citizens and the defense of the country. Kiribati is not a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency or the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Foreign investors are guaranteed the same treatment as domestic, in principle no sector is restricted for foreign investment, but this will not be allowed if it competes with the 12 state-owned enterprises and local industry (craftsmanship, inter-island transport, pig and poultry farming, wholesale, export of lobster salad; some types of agriculture and fishing are allowed with restrictions) or disturb nature or the social environment. The protection of immovable property is given by law; foreigners cannot own land, but they can rent it long-term for investment purposes. The regulatory framework for the creation of private companies is in its infancy, the laws are not well known or widely publicized, the foreign investment law is not transparent, and the bureaucracy does not effectively support private entrepreneurship.

Investment incentives are granted on a case-by-case basis. E.g. the pioneer statute allows for a reduction of the corporate profit tax rate from the usual 25% to 10% for a period of 5 years. Imports of investment technologies, equipment, building materials, furniture and ships can be partially or completely exempt from customs duties. Tourism has a special position in the system of investment incentives.

Contact the local agency for the promotion of foreign direct investment:

Mr. Teuarai Ereata, Senior Foreign Investment Officer Foreign Investment Promotion Secretariat Kiribati Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives PO Box 510, Betio, Tarawa Republic of Kiribati;

Phone: +686 26 156/157/158; Fax: +686 26 233; Email: [email protected]


Business Promotion Centre

Mr. Tiare Erekana, Director for Business Promotion; Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives; PO Box 510, Betio, Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati

Phone: (686) 26156/26157/26158; Email: [email protected]

Kiribati Trade