St. Lucia Industry
The industry in Saint Lucia has grown since the mid-1990s and now accounts for almost one-seventh of gross domestic product (GDP). A large part of the production takes place in special free zones where companies are attracted with low taxes and customs duties.
In the free zones there are factories that process agricultural products, including beer and rum. There is also production of cardboard boxes for the banana industry and electronics assembly as well as textile, furniture and plastic industries. Outside the capital Castries there is a refinery and a transhipment port for oil.
However, the manufacturing industry’s share of GDP has shrunk from 8 percent in 1990 to 2.5 percent in 2016. The construction industry is benefiting from the country’s ambitious investments in the tourism industry and accounted for 5-6 percent of GDP in the mid-2010s. The industry as a whole, with the construction sector included, employs about a quarter of the workforce.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of St. Lucia. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Saint Lucia is drawn with a large and long-term deficit in its trade exchange with the outside world, which means that imports cost significantly more than the country earns on its exports. The deficit is covered by loans and external assistance as well as by tourism income.
Bananas are the largest export commodity, but their share of the total export value has fallen rapidly, from half of 2002 to less than a tenth in 2015. Other agricultural products, mainly different kinds of fruits, are also exported, as well as clothing, paper, paper products and machines that are usually manufactured in factories located in special free zones (see Industry).
Imports mainly comprise food, fuel (about a quarter of imports 2014), vehicles and transport equipment and machinery.
Saint Lucia is a member of the regional cooperation organization Caricom (Caribbean Community) and in 2006 became a member of Caricom’s common market for goods, services, people and capital (CSME).
Saint Lucia’s exports benefit from the so-called Cotonou Agreement with the EU. Since 2008, Cariforum (the Caricom countries plus the Dominican Republic) has also been covered by a so-called Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) under the Cotonou Agreement. Through the Caribbean Basin Initiative, Saint Lucia can export certain goods duty-free to the United States. Main trading partners are the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and Barbados.
Together with several other Caribbean states, in 2005 Saint Lucia joined the Venezuelan oil partnership Petrocaribe, which means that the country can buy Venezuelan oil at a discount. That same year, Saint Lucia became a member of the left-wing regional bloc Alba.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 129 million (2017)
US $ 576 million (2017)
– US $ 47 million (2017)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
42 percent (2018)
Main export goods
food (mainly bananas), machinery and electrical equipment, paper and paper products
Largest trading partner
USA, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, Barbados (2016)
Saint Lucia attracts many visitors with tropical climate, sandy beaches and spectacular mountain areas. Other tourist attractions are historically worthwhile places, rich bird life and swimming in water from hot springs.
In 2016, just over a million tourists came to the island. The figure includes both overnight tourists, including many sailors, as well as cruise travelers. Most visitors come from the United States. Many Brits also come to the island, as do residents of other Caribbean countries and areas.
Tourism has expanded rapidly in recent decades and is now Saint Lucia’s main source of foreign currency income. The tourism industry employs around half the workforce and contributes an equal share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
348 000 (2016)
770,000,000 US dollars (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
78.9 percent (2016)