The difference between the level of Samoa's exports and imports is considerable. In the years shown in the table, the trade imbalance ranges from just over 3 to 1 in 1985 to more than 10 to 1 in 1995, and the general trend is an increasing imbalance. The value of exports has not kept pace with the expansion of the economy, which requires increased imports. Also, 2 cyclones in 1990 and
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Samoa|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
1991 and the taro blight in 1993 had a severe impact on the level of exports in the mid 1990s.
Australia has been the most important destination for exports in recent years, ranging between 50 and 85 percent of all exports between 1995 and 1999. New Zealand is the most important source of imports, but Australia, Japan, Fiji, and the United States are also significant.
The large negative balance of trade is possible because of other international transfers. Tourism contributes some international income. At the household level the most important source of income is remittances from relatives living overseas, particularly in New Zealand, the United States, and Australia. At the government level, international aid helps to counterbalance the trade deficit .