Barbados is one of the most developed and
prosperous countries in the Caribbean and also socially
and politically stable. Gross domestic product per
person is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Today, the economy is based mainly on tourism and
The former mainstay of the economy, the sugar
industry, has declined in importance since the 1960s, as
has agriculture in general.
Major imports by Barbados, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
Despite the relative strength, Barbados belongs to a
category of countries that the United Nations calls
"small island nations under development" - countries
that are characterized by being small economies with
limited resources and particularly vulnerable to natural
As a small and open economy, Barbados is also
extremely sensitive to international price fluctuations
and business cycles. After the global financial crisis
of 2008, the economy has had a hard time recovering.
Growth averaged 0.3 percent in 2010–2014 and has since
increased quite modestly. Government debt's share of GDP
has risen sharply, from around 50 percent in 2007 to
over 100 percent in 2015.
The service sector completely dominates the economy
while the industry accounts for just over a tenth of
GDP. Low taxes and duties have attracted foreign finance
companies to establish themselves on the island and
since the early 1990s, the financial sector has grown
significantly. Barbados has the advantage of having a
relatively well-trained workforce and of being within
the same time zone as major financial centers on the US
East Coast. The regulations mean that many companies in
the so-called offshore business have local employees and
offices in Barbados and not just on paper, which is
often the case in other countries. The business thus
also provides some revenue to the state.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including BRB which represents the country of Barbados.
Following some international criticism in the early
2000s, the Government of Barbados increased its
transparency in banking and the country was removed in
2002 from the economic cooperation organization OECD's
black list of tax havens. According to Transparency
International, Barbados is also among the least corrupt
countries in the Western Hemisphere.
However, Barbados was included in the EU's first
black list of tax havens but was soon moved, in early
2018, to a "gray" list of countries to be monitored.
From 2017, Barbados has also promised to participate in
an automatic exchange of information on foreigners' bank
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 16,328 (2017)
US $ 4,674 million (2017)
1.0 percent (2017)
Agriculture's share of GDP
1.4 percent (2016)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
4.8 percent (2016)
The service sector's share of GDP
74.9 percent (2016)
1.9 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
125.7 percent (2018)
US $ 885 million (2013)
US $ 1,687 million (2013)
- US $ 248 million (2013)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
45 percent (2017)
Main export goods
lighter industrial products, sugar and molasses, rum,
food and beverages, chemicals, fuel, electronics
Largest trading partner
CARICOM countries, USA, EU countries, Russia, China