Since the US stopped trading with Cuba in 1963, Cuba's dollar reserves have dropped to virtually nothing, and most trade is conducted through barter agreements. In 1997, Cuba's debt to the former Soviet Union was estimated at $20 billion. With the demise of the USSR, Cuba has focused on trading with market-oriented countries in order to increase foreign currency reserves, notably by promoting sugar exports and foreign investment in industry. Remittances from Cuban workers in the US (totaling approximately $800 million annually), tourism dollars, and foreign aid help to cover the trade deficit.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Cuba's exports was $1.8 billion while imports totaled $4.8 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $3 billion.