In 2012, South Sudan passed the National Bureau of Standards Act, which sets standards and the law on body and weight and standard measures, which established the National Bureau of Standards for Consumer Protection. On the one hand, South Sudan is not a member of the WTO, it has no obligations under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the Agreement on the Application of Health and Plant Health Measures. On the other hand, as a member of COMESA, the country is required to remove non-tariff barriers that limit intra-regional trade by strengthening regulatory systems and technical standards and promoting mutual recognition. The lack of laboratory equipment prevents the National Standards Office from controlling imports of products such as food and out-of-date goods. Foreign trade accounted for 66% of the country`s GDP in 2015 (World Bank, latest available data). The policy put in place by the South Sudanese government since its independence in 2011 aims to integrate the country into the international trading network. South Sudan is gradually moving closer to the East African Community (EAC), which includes Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and officially became its youngest member until 15 August 2016. South Sudan has only one road connecting the capital Juba to Nimule, on the border with Uganda. Road renovations are expected to pave the way for trade with Central and East Africa. In 2018, South Sudan mainly imported vehicles (24.67% of total exports), machinery (7.54%), electrical appliances (7.11%), pharmaceuticals (6.17%), plastics (5.26%). Drinks (4.09%). The country mainly exported oil (95.58% of total exports) (ITC, 2018). South Sudan`s main suppliers are China, the Netherlands, Thailand, Pakistan and Germany.
Its main customers are China, Pakistan and Germany (ITC, 2017). The peace agreement signed in September 2018 to end the civil war has led South Sudan and Sudan to open four crossing points, increasing trade. In 2018, South Sudan imported $154.8 million worth of goods, while it exported $1.6 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $1.46 billion (ITC, 2018). South Sudan has rebuilt oil production and export facilities and has been restored to stability, which has supported oil exports. According to the World Bank, South Sudan`s trade balance recorded a surplus of $893 million in 2018 (after a deficit of $1.135 billion in 2014). In 2018, services exports were $217 million (up 11%), while imports were $596 million (up 7%) Freedoms and Freedoms Committee. (WTO). The Republic of South Sudan is considered a post-conflict country, which officially became independent in July 2011. It is also identified as a least developed country (LDC), with about 75 per cent of the population living in poverty. The country`s economy is heavily dependent on the oil sector, which until recently accounted for 98% of government revenues, and according to the World Bank report (2013), it is linked to the country`s weakness in macroeconomic policy and corrupt public financial management. Currently, the government is focusing on increasing investment in non-oil sectors, which would diversify the economy and stimulate economic growth and exports. Although trade between South Sudan and Sudan has been historically strong, it has broken since secession and a series of disputes along the border, with serious repercussions for South Sudan`s economy.
However, given that the country is a new independent state with a fragile economy, poor infrastructure and political instability, it is expected that a number of political and institutional reforms will be put in place to create a more favourable environment for participation in international trade. In early 2012, South Sudan issued oil production because of its dispute with Sudan over exhausting taxes. This has had a devastating effect on GDP, which has fallen by at least 55%