Tuvalu Trade and Foreign Investment

By | July 24, 2022

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

Foreign trade (million USD)
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Export 25 8 37 43,8 9,2
Import 107 123 66 58,5 76,6
Trade balance -82 -115 -29 -14,6 -67,4

Zdroj: Intracen – International Trade Centre

Territorial structure – position in (k) EU

Territorial composition of trade according to data from 2015

Main export destinations in 2016:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (24.3%)
  • Singapore (18.5%)
  • Nigeria (17.5%)
  • Australia (4.9%)

Source countries of imports in 2016:

  • Singapore (51.2%)
  • New Zealand (9.4%)
  • Australia (8.6%)

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia

Trade with the EU is statistically insignificant.

Commodity structure

Import items:

  • grocery store
  • animals
  • mineral oils, fuels
  • machines and means of transport
  • ships
  • finished products (consumer goods)

Export items:

  • dill
  • the fish
  • handicrafts
  • postage stamps and coins
  • pearls

Free trade zones (VT parks, investment zones)

The Embassy does not register any information about Free Trade Zones in Tuvalu.

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

Data on foreign direct investment are sparse and unreliable. Investments in tourism, especially accommodation, can be considered.

2005 2010 2015 2016
Foreign direct investment (million USD) 0,55 0,23 0,22
Remittances as a ratio of GDP (%) 22,52 12,32 12,17 11,93

Source: businesscarriers.com

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

The government of Tuvalu welcomes foreign investment, but these are not numerous given the limited natural resources. The inflow of foreign investment is governed by the Foreign Direct Investment Act of 1996 (amended in 2008). Each foreign investment proposal is assessed on a case-by-case basis, there are no fixed investment incentives, but some items for new investment (equipment, machinery and means of transport, construction materials) are allowed to be imported duty-free. Tax breaks are available to selected sectors such as tourism, where the so-called pioneer status is granted by the Ministry of Finance (below). A foreign investor cannot own real estate and must rent land from the original owners. The lease is subject to Department of Natural Resources approval. There is no state requirement for the participation of a local entity in a foreign investment project.

The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Industry provides information on investment opportunities. Proposals for potential investment projects must be forwarded to the Foreign Investment Facilitation Board / FIFB. This authority assesses proposals before issuing a permit. The application for a foreign investment permit is submitted on a standardized questionnaire, it must contain information on the scope, nature and effectiveness of the project, requirements for land, and information on the applicant’s previous activities, incl. bank information and an extract from the criminal record.

Foreign investors are often faced with non-transparency and inefficiency in the case of Tuvalu. As part of its medium-term strategy and public sector reform, the government is considering creating a new legislative framework for foreign investment.

Contact the local agency for the support of foreign direct investment

Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Industries
Department of Trade & Industries (Foreign Investment Facilitation Board)
Government Building, Vaiaku, Funafuti, Tuvalu
Tel: (688) 20840
Fax: (688) 20210

Tuvalu Trade