International sanctions on Yugoslavia were implemented in 1991 with weapons embargoes. As the conflict in the area escalated, more sanctions were enforced and full trade was blocked from 1992 until 1994. Embargoes against weapons sales were again imposed between 1998 and 2001.
The sanctions had a dramatic effect on trade. Trade with the United States, for example, went from US$38.7 million worth of imports and US$5.9 million worth of exports in 1992 to US$1.7 million in exports and no imports in 1993. Trade with the United States improved as the sanctions were lifted in the late 1990s. In 1996, the United States exported US$46 million to Yugoslavia and imported US$8.2 million worth of goods. Yugoslavia's total trade in 1996 reached US$1.8 billion for exports and imports rose to US$4.1 billion. The trade numbers for 1999 were US$1.5 billion for exports and US$3.3 billion for imports.
The imbalance between exports and imports reflected the weakness of the economy and the export-oriented sectors. The lack of international recognition of the FRY made receiving loans, foreign investment, and trade credit difficult and, in turn, did nothing to help develop trade relations with other countries.