Located in northern Caribbean and east of Mexico, the Republic of Cuba’s imported goods cost an estimated total US$3.44 billion in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a -66.5% drop since 2016 and a -36.6% drop from 2019 to 2020.
Based on latest obtainable data from 2018, over three-quarters (78.2%) of Cuban imports were bought from suppliers in Venezuela (23% of total), China (13.4%), Spain (10.5%), Mexico (4.5%), Brazil (3.9%), Italy (3.4%), Vietnam (3.3%), Algeria (3.2%), Germany (3.1%), France (also 3.1%) and Canada (2.9%).
From a continents-based perspective, the leading proportion of Cuba’s imports originated from suppliers in Latin America (34.4%) excluding Mexico. Close behind were providers in Europe (30.8%) trailed by Asia (21%), North America (9.7%), Africa (3.7%), and Oceania (0.2%) led by New Zealand.
Given Cuba’s population of 11.3 million people, its estimated $3.44 billion worth of imports translates to approximately $300 in yearly product need from every person in the Cuban collection of islands.
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Cuba’s import purchases during 2020. Also shown is the percentage proportion each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Cuba.
- Machinery including computers: US$509.3 million (14.8% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $303.3 million (8.8%)
- Meat: $269.3 million (7.8%)
- Cereals: $243.7 million (7.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $164.2 million (4.8%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $138.1 million (4%)
- Vehicles: $121.5 million (3.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $104.5 million (3%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $87.2 million (2.5%)
- Other chemical goods: $81.2 million (2.4%)
Cuba’s top 10 imports accounted for 58.7% of the overall cost of its product purchases from other countries.
The only product category to increase from 2019 to 2020 is furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings via a 31.1% gain.
Leading the declining categories were Cuba’s imported vehicles (down -5618%), items made from iron or steel (down -44.5%), and machinery including computers (down -41.3%).
Please observe that information presented under the nearby virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2020, Cuban importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Refrigerators, freezers: US$33.8 million (up 5.7% from 2019)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $32.8 million (down -36.8%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $29.6 million (down -35.8%)
- Printing machinery: $28.5 million (up 22.7%)
- Machinery parts: $28.2 million (down -35.5%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $27.4 million (down -26.9%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $27 million (down -23.7%)
- Air conditioners: $25.8 million (up 7%)
- Sort/screen/washing machinery: $24.1 million (down -34.8%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $19.3 million (down -47.3%)
Among these import subcategories, Cuban purchases of printing machinery (up 22.7%), air conditioners (up 7%) then refrigerators and freezers (up 5.7%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest need lies for different types of imported machinery including computers among Cuban businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Cuban importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics-related goods.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$84.3 million (down -20.6% from 2019)
- Insulated wire/cable: $40.8 million (down -13.6%)
- Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches: $19.3 million (down -6.4%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $19.2 million (down -34.8%)
- Electrical converters/strength units: $19.2 million (down -25.1%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $16.4 million (down -58.8%)
- Electric storage batteries: $12.5 million (down -19%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $12 million (down -36.1%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $9.1 million (down -43.2%)
- Electrical machinery: $8 million (up 177.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Cuban purchases of electrical machinery was the lone product subcategory to grow via a 177.9% increase from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gain clearly show where the strongest need lies for different types of imported electronics-related goods among Cuban businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Cuban importers spent the most on the following subcategories of meat-related products.
- Poultry meat: US$257.5 million (down -9.6% from 2019)
- Frozen beef: $5.1 million (down -49.9%)
- Swine meat: $4.2 million (down -57.9%)
- Salted/dried/smoked meat: $911,000 (down -66.0%)
- Sheep or goat meat: $509,000 (up 3.5%)
- Pig, poultry fat: $381,000 (up 212.3%)
- Fresh or chilled beef: $240,000 (up 27.7%)
- Red meat offal: $131,000 (down -87.3%)
Among these import subcategories, Cuban purchases of pig or poultry fat (up 212.3%), fresh or chilled beef (up 27.7%) and sheep or goat meat (up 3.5%) increased from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest need lies for different types of imported meat-related products among Cuban businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Cuban importers spent the most on the following subcategories of cereals.
- Wheat: US$140.3 million (down -22.5% from 2019)
- Rice: $58.9 million (up 18.3%)
- Corn: $44.1 million (down -69.8%)
- Oats: $433,000 (down -76.6%)
- Canary seeds, millet: $123,000 (down -13.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Cuba’s purchases of rice generated the only increase, expanding by 18.3% from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest need lies for different types of imported cereals among Cuban businesses and consumers.
See also Cuba’s Top 10 Exports, China’s Top 10 Exports and Spain’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 17, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing strength Parity). Accessed on September 17, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 17, 2021
Wikipedia, Cuba. Accessed on September 17, 2021
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