Domestic and Foreign Market Access

The Republic of Suriname is part of Caribbean South America and an economy heavily dependent on trade, whose imports and exports are equivalent to 100 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP). Suriname is classified as an upper middle-income country and has enjoyed economic growth over recent years, in no small part, thanks to high commodity prices. Nevertheless, Suriname has been facing development challenges due to: a narrow export base dominated by a limited number of natural resource products, outdated governance, a lacking regulatory framework, which have not evolved significantly since independence in 1975, as well as the high cost of doing business.

Inter-American Development Bank, 2006, Suriname Trade Sector Policy Note

Trade Policy and Market Access

Surinam applied the simple average MFN tariff of 11.4 per cent in 2012. The tariff line ranges from duty-fee to 50 per cent. Agricultural products face higher applied tariff rates on average (19.5 per cent) than non-agricultural products (9.8 per cent). Suriname is one of the 15 member states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and therefore applies the CARICOM Common External Tariff (CET) except for products on the A and C lists, which tariffs may be higher or lower than the CARICOM CET. The Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) of which Surinam is a member signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in 2008. It provided Surinam with preferential access to the EU market, which is duty-free and quota-free. Given that there is a need to diversify the export base, the Government has aimed to increase the export of agricultural products and become a major food provider in the Caribbean region. The strategies include producing more value added products and diversifying into new products, which would boost exports as well as job-creation.

WTO, 2013, Trade Policy Review (Suriname)

Standard Compliance and Other Relevant Import/Export Restrictions

The Suriname Standards Bureau (SSB) is a national agency for administration and development of standards and technical regulations; for certification of goods and accepted processes; for metrology; for accreditation of laboratories and testing facilities; and for the promotion of the use of international and regional standards. In addition, Suriname has adopted CARICOM's technical regulations for brewery products, the poultry industry, labelling of tobacco products, rum, and rice. Moreover, the Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries, the Agricultural Health and Food Safety Unit (AHFSU) develops and harmonizes national standards in line with those developed by the Codex Alimentarius, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, started a programme with technical assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization, to strengthen the food control system with the aim to improve local food safety and increase exports (WTO 2013).

WTO, 2013, Trade Policy Review (Surinam)