Rwanda - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Barriers

Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.

Last published date: 2021-11-11

There are no special barriers to U.S. trade and investment, but in July 2016 the government increased tariffs for used clothing imports from any country by 1000 percent.  Constraints to increased trade and investment are limited infrastructure, bureaucratic procedures, shortages of foreign exchange, and high transportation and transaction costs.  


Most imports and exports are shipped by road from the ports of Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), a distance of up to 1,500 km.  Commercial traffic to and from the ports is subject to frequent delays, numerous weigh points, high transportation costs, and occasional theft.  These hindrances can cause unpredictable delays when importing goods into the country.  As such, shipping insurance and freight forwarding services may prove difficult to acquire in Rwanda.  Landlocked Rwanda’s economy is vulnerable to potential disputes with neighboring countries; since 2019, trade between Rwanda and Uganda has dwindled due to political tensions.  The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased delays and added to costs as trucks arriving in Rwanda from the EAC must now offload at borders so that domestic trucks may transport the containers from borders to final destinations (though trucks carrying relief goods, transit goods, fuel and perishable goods are expedited and escorted to the final destination free of charge).  


Rwanda hopes to continue generating higher trade volumes under the Single Customs Territory (SCT), an initiative among EAC member countries.  Under the SCT, customs revenues are collected at the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam and remitted to the destination member state.