Between 1996 and 1999, exports grew 424%, while imports grew by a considerably smaller 25%. However, the value of imports still equals more than four times the value of exports. Imports for 1999 consisted chiefly of food, machinery and equipment, steel, petroleum products, cement, and construction material.
Rwanda's main commodity exports are coffee (56%) and tea (27%). Other exports include gold (17%) and animal hides and skins (0.9%).
Kenya is Rwanda's most important export market by far. Japan, Belgium, and Kenya are Rwanda's biggest suppliers of imports. Principal trading partners in 1999 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:
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