Merchandise exports, including reexports, were valued at $260 million in 1999, and merchandise imports, including goods for reexport, at $440 million. Excluding the reexport trade, Djibouti exported $16 million of domestically produced goods and imported $24 million of goods for domestic use in 1998. The trade gap is met by the receipts from the port and transport services supplied by Djibouti and the earnings from the presence of French troops.
Locally produced merchandise exports are limited to livestock and hides (21 percent), miscellaneous manufactures (20 percent), and coffee products (11 percent), with all the other exports (48 percent) not classified according to category. The reexports are predominantly coffee from Ethiopia, fish caught by foreign fishing fleets, livestock, meat products and hides from Somalia, and manufactured goods reexported to Ethiopia. The main destinations of domestically produced exports are Somalia (53 percent), Yemen (23 percent), and Ethiopia (5 percent).
Imports for domestic use consist mainly of foods and beverages (39 percent); machinery, metals, and vehicles (20 percent); fuels (13 percent); and qat (13 percent). Qat is a mild but legal stimulant that is chewed. Official trade statistics do not reflect the level of the informal trade with Ethiopia and Somalia, much of which involves the smuggling of qat. In 1998, the main sources of imports for domestic use were France (13 percent), Ethiopia (12 percent), Italy (9 percent), Saudi Arabia (6 percent), the United Kingdom (6 percent), and Japan (4 percent).