Leading exports are bauxite, sugar, rice, gold, shrimp, rum, timber, and molasses. In 1968, bauxite replaced sugar as Guyana's single most important export. From the 1970s to mid-1980s, however, world markets for Guyana's export commodities weakened while oil import costs rose, leading to chronic trade deficits. As a result of Guyana's economic reform program, import restrictions have been removed, and import licenses are granted routinely by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Industry.
Guyana's biggest exports are sugar (25%) and gold (24%). The mining industry also produces a large amount of bauxite/alumina exports (16%). Foodstuffs account for substantial amounts of commodity export percentages, including rice (11%), shrimp (2.3%), and rum (2.0%).
In 1992 Guyana's imports were distributed among the following categories:
Principal trading partners in 1998 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:
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