Cotton is Chad's primary export, making the economy's trade balance vulnerable to fluctuations in world cotton prices and the rising competition of synthetic materials. In 2000, exports totaled $172 million, and imports amounted to $223 million. Cotton accounted for 50% of exports that year, with cattle exports contributing 35%. Exports of textiles and fish products accounted for most of the remaining 15%. Leading imports in 1998 were machinery and transportation equipment, industrial goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs, and textiles.
Principal trading partners in 1998 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows: