The international trade position of the country has improved dramatically. Prior to the discovery of oil, exports were dominated by agricultural production, which declined dramatically under the period of authoritarian rule. The trade balance in the late 1980s and early 1990s was in constant deficit, only to improve with the explosion of oil production in the early 1980s. With a depreciation of the CFA Fr, the price of timber from Equatorial Guinea is less expensive relative to timber from other countries. This depreciation has led to a dramatic increase in timber exports. These 2 industries propelled the country into a surplus in the mid-1990s.
With no real manufacturing base, almost every manufactured good has to be imported. The increased activity in the oil sector has led to a surge in imports to service this industry's needs.
The country's main trading partner is the United States, consuming 62 percent of the country's exports and providing 35 percent of the imports. France, Spain, China, Cameroon, and the United Kingdom are also important trading partners.