Bolivia depends primarily on its mineral exports, especially zinc and natural gas. Tin exports, which had been an integral part of the Bolivian export schedule, have been gradually decreasing since 1946. The 1985 devaluation of tin caused major problems in the Bolivian economy, and now tin plays a minor role in Bolivia's exports. Exports of natural and manufactured gas and petroleum are expected to surpass those of other minerals in the future.
As a member of the Andean Community, Bolivia has generally enjoyed free trade with Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. As of March 1997, the Bolivian government was negotiating with MERCOSUR to enter into that trade agreement and expand its trade opportunities eastward. However, the United States remains Bolivia's chief trading partner.
Bolivia's main attraction, and export commodity, is its natural minerals, including zinc, and gold (12% and 5% of total exports, respectively). The country also exports natural and manufactured gas (9%) to neighboring Brazil through a newly constructed pipeline. Agricultural exports include wood, oil seeds, and animal feed (1.9%, 6.0%, and 10.1%).
In 2000 Bolivia's imports were distributed among the following categories:
Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows: