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Last updated : Nov 2009
Vanuatu Business
Vanuatu Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Gross Domestic Products: US$ 37.2 million (in 2003).

The Main exports: Cocoa, copra, beef and veal, timber, kava and coffee.

The Main imports: Machinery and transport equipment, fuel, foodstuffs, basic manufactured goods and chemicals.

The Main trade partners: New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and the European Union.


Agriculture and fishing occupy 40 % of the working population. Fruit and vegetables are grown for domestic consumption while copra, coffee, beef and veal are the main export products. The sale of fishing licences to foreign fleets is another significant source of revenue. There is also a sizeable timber industry, initially encouraged by the Government but now strictly regulated in the wake of international pressure. The industrial sector is mainly concerned with food processing and construction. Identified mineral resources, including manganese, copper and gold have yet to be exploited on a commercial scale.

While mineral deposits may be of future value to the Vanuatu economy, the Government’s recent efforts to expand the economy have been focused on the service sector. The most significant of these is tourism,backed by the construction of new hotels and airport improvements, allied to a focus on ecotourism, and offshore financial services. Tourism is worth about US$ 55 million to the economy each year. Visitor numbers have increased considerably over the last 12 months. A flag of convenience shipping register was also created.

Despite these efforts, the economy is still vulnerable to its geographical circumstances, a severe earthquake followed by a tsunami in late 1999 caused substantial damage to many islands. Meanwhile, offshore finance has run into trouble. In April 2002, Vanuatu was 1 of 7 countries named and shamed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and threatened with sanctions for its failure to take adequate measures against money laundering. Since then, the Vanuatu authorities have intensified their financial services regulatory regime. Foreign aid remains essential to sustain the economy, which is currently growing at 2.4 % annually. In 2002, Vanuatu signed up to the newly established regional trade bloc created under the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA). New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and France are the principal donors.


A casual approach to business exists in Vanuatu. Shirts and smart trousers will be sufficient, ties are only necessary for the most formal occasions. Business is conducted in French or Pidgin English.

General Office hours are Monday to Friday 7.30 am to 11.30 am and 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm.

Commercial Information

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce

Address: PO Box 189, Port-Vila, Vanuatu

Telephone: 27543.

Facsimile: 27542.

Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority

Address: 1st Floor, Pilioko House, Port-Vila, Vanuatu

Telephone: 24096.

Website address: www.investinvanuatu.com