St. Kitts Industry
Construction is the largest industrial sector, which is linked to the expansion of the tourism industry. The sugar industry was previously dominant, but in 2005 the government decided to close it because of unprofitable.
There is a small manufacturing industry that produces clothing, food and beer and other beverages mainly for the home market. Saint Kitts and Nevis also have some industries that manufacture parts or assemble electrical and electronic products, especially for export. It is mainly women who work in the factories.
During the 2000s, industrial productivity has decreased, as has the sector’s share of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2001, it accounted for 34 percent of GDP, compared with 27 percent 15 years later.
Saint Kitts and Nevis have a large deficit in their trade with the outside world. In the mid-2010s, imports were four times larger than exports. Almost everything used on the islands must be imported, such as fuel, consumer goods and a lot of food. Exports mainly consist of machinery, electrical appliances and electronics.
The United States is the islands’ largest trading partner, both on the export and import side. Trade with the former colonial power of the United Kingdom as well as with other Caribbean countries is also significant.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are part of a number of trade partnerships and are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The country is covered by the Caribbean Basin Initiative and Caribcan, which favors trade with the United States and Canada, respectively. In 2008, the regional cooperation organization Caricom, of which Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member, signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU (EPA). This means that countries in the Caribbean do not have to pay customs duties and other restrictions on virtually all exports to EU countries. In return, the Caribbean countries will gradually phase out tariffs on almost 90 percent of EU imports by 2033.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are also covered by the oil partnership Petrocaribe, which was created in 2005 at the initiative of the oil-producing Venezuela. Within the framework of Petrocaribe, some 20 countries can buy oil with good credit and favorable conditions. Saint Kitts and Nevis, together with ten other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, are also included in the left-wing free trade bloc Alba-TCP.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 25 million (2017)
US $ 310 million (2017)
– US $ 86 million (2017)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
37 percent (2018)
Main export goods
machinery, electrical appliances, electronics, food
Largest trading partner
USA, neighboring countries of the Caribbean, UK
Tourism has grown strongly since the 1990s and is now the industry that draws in the most foreign currency. During the 2000s, the number of cruise passengers has increased significantly.
Tourists travel to Saint Kitts and Nevis to enjoy the fine sandy beaches, the beautiful climate and the scenery of the mountainous parts of the country. Fort George Fortress on Brimstone Hill south of the town of Sandy Point on the west coast of the main island of Saint Kitts is also well attended. The national park around Brimstone Hill is included in the UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List.
Several new large hotels have been built and a number of plantations have been transformed into small luxury hotels. To attract more tourists, golf courses have been built at Saint Kitts.
Most foreigners who visit the islands are Americans, Canadians or British.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
122 000 (2015)
US $ 331,000,000 (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
63.8 percent (2016)