World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Surinam

Surinam: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Surinam

A suit is expected for business. All appointments should be honoured, though punctuality may be difficult owing to unpredictable transport.

Office Hours

Mon-Thurs 0700-1500, Fri 0700-1430.


The most important industry is mining, especially alumina, oil and gold. There are also thought to be substantial reserves of other metal ores. The manufacturing industry is dominated by of cigarettes, drinks and chemicals.

Agricultural products include rice, citrus fruits, sugar and bananas, although this part of the economy is suffering. Shrimp fishing is both important and lucrative. Livestock breeding and, most controversially, logging in Surinam's vast jungle interior are also big earners.

Inflation was at 9.5% in 2005, and growth was 5.1% in 2007.

Foreign aid, especially from The Netherlands (the former colonial power), has been essential to the economy but political disagreements have meant that it has not always been forthcoming. Surinam became a full member of the Caribbean trading bloc CARICOM in 1995. Economic policy has become more austere to tackle monetary difficulties under the supervision of international bodies.


US$2.2 billion (2007).

Main exports

Aluminium, gold, crude oil, wood and wood products, and rice.

Main imports

Capital equipment, petroleum, iron and steel products, agricultural products and consumer goods.

Main trading partners

USA, Norway, The Netherlands, Canada and Trinidad & Tobago.

Keeping in Touch in Surinam


There are no area codes.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is mainly limited to Paramaribo.


Internet cafes are available.


The government allows freedom of expression and the state broadcast media offer a range of views.


Airmail to and from Europe usually takes about one week to arrive.

Post Office hours

0700 to mid-afternoon.

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