During the 1990s Cameroon consistently ran trade surpluses , though these varied according to commodity prices. In 1999, for example, exported goods totaled almost US$2 billion, while imported goods amounted to almost US$1.5 billion. A surge in oil prices contributed to a 30 percent rise in the value of Cameroon's exports during the late 1990s. At the same time, lower revenues from cocoa and rubber were offset by increased revenues from coffee, cotton, and aluminum. In 1999-2000, oil provided nearly half of the country's export revenues, while agricultural products provided an additional 25 percent, lumber 16 percent, and aluminum 5 percent.
The European Union is Cameroon's biggest trading partner. It supplies most of Cameroon's imports, while receiving over 80 percent of its exports. All of Cameroon's principal exports—including oil, coffee, cocoa, bananas, cotton, lumber, and aluminum—travel primarily to European ports. In 1999-2000, 22 percent of Cameroon's exports went to Italy and another 16 percent to France. Cameroon also exports a variety of fruits, vegetables, and manufactured goods to neighboring countries. France has historically supplied the largest share of Cameroon's imports, which include machinery, processed food products,
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Cameroon|
|SOURCE : International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
and a range of other consumer goods. Although Cameroon exports crude and refined oil, it also imports fuel for its domestic needs. Fuel accounted for 20 percent of imports in 1999. Most of this fuel is imported and distributed by 4 international firms: TotalFinaElf, Mobil, Shell, and Texaco, while other goods are imported by a variety of trading firms and industrial companies.