Cape Verde has been increasingly dependent upon imports, especially foodstuffs and manufactured goods, a situation that has led to a severe trade imbalance. Chronic drought exacerbates the problem. About 90% of food had to be imported in 1999. In 2000 exports were valued at only $10.9 million, while imports amounted to $237 million.
Major commodity export items were bananas and fish. Cape Verde's fishing resources were estimated to contain a potential of 43,000 to 50,000 tons per year, but only one-third of these resources were utilized in 1999. Other exports include transport containers, shoes, and garments. About half of Cape Verde's trade was done with Portugal in 1999. Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows: