Trade in Zambia has been progressively liberalized since the early 1990s to create a free market economy. The Government is promoting international trade through  abolition of trade barriers and export restrictions. Import and Export permits are only applicable for security, environmental and health reasons as well as to products that require phytosanitary and sanitary (SPS) certifications to protect human, animal and plant health. The current trade regime is fully liberalized in line with national objectives as well as the requirements of the trade related agreements to which Zambia is a member. As a member of the COMESA and SADC free trade areas (FTAs), Zambian products can be exported duty and quota free to markets of other members of the free trade areas.

Main Exports

  • The main traditional exports are metals and minerals, in particular copper and cobalt.
  • Nontraditional exports include: primary agricultural products, floriculture, sugar, gemstones, timber, electricity, cement and textiles.

Main Imports

  • Main imports include, crude oil, chemicals, foodstuffs, machinery, iron steel, vehicles, and manufactured goods.

Major Trading Partners

  • The major trading partners within the region include: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Other major international trading partners include, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan and the United States of America.

Import and Exports Routes Commonly Used (Ports)

  • Ports most frequently used include Durban in South Africa, Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and Walvis Bay in Namibia. Goods may be transported by rail or road from all ports since the infrastructure is in good condition.

Membership to Trade Related Agreements

  • Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO)