Tunisia's foreign trade is based upon the export of mineral and agricultural products, textiles, and chemicals in exchange for consumer goods, raw and processed materials, and agricultural and industrial equipment. Apparel, textiles, and leather are now the major exports. By 2000 their share of exports amounted to nearly half of total export value. The petroleum industry's share in Tunisian foreign trade dropped from a peak of 44% of the total in 1984 to only 12% in 2000.
Garments make up a large portion of Tunisia's export commodities are (38%). Other exports include crude petroleum (10.4%), chemicals (5.9%), manufactured fertilizers (4.6%), and vegetable oils (3.6%). In 2000 Tunisia's imports were distributed among the following categories: consumer goods. 12.0%; food, 5.9%; fuels, 10.6%; industrial supplies, 39.4%; machinery, 20.8%; and transportation, 11.4%.
The EU is the focus of Tunisia's foreign trade, accounting for an estimated 80% of exports and 71% of imports in 2000. France was the single largest trading partner, accounting for 23% of exports and 26% of imports in the same year. Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows: