Minerals, mainly copper concentrates and molybdenum, were Mongolia's largest exports. In 1998, exports totaled $316.8 million. The second most important export category includes wool, hides, and skins, followed by consumer goods, mainly manufactured garments. The liberalization and expansion of free trade zones have promoted the export of manufactured goods such as spun wool and cashmere, carpets, leather goods, green tea, canned meat, and light consumer goods. In 1999, imports amounted to $472.4 million. Imports included machinery and equipment, fuels, rice, wheat flour, industrial consumer goods, chemicals, building materials, sugar, and tea.
Although Mongolia continues to depend on the republics of the former USSR (especially Russia) as its dominant trading partners, the country's trading profile has changed greatly since the mid-1980s. In 1985, communist countries, excluding China and North Korea, accounted for 95.5% of Mongolia's exports and 98.1% of its imports. In 1997 Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization. By 1998 Russia accounted for only 12.1% of exports, while their share of imports fell to 30.6%.
Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:
|China (inc. Hong Kong)||274||126||148|