Guinea's trade balance varies, depending on the output of the mining sector and prices in the international commodity markets. Guinea enjoyed a trade surplus in 1998 of US$135 million, on exports of US$695 million and imports of US$560 million. That surplus jumped to US$186 million on exports of US$820 million and imports of US$634 million in 2000. Bauxite and alumina have contributed approximately 70 percent of official export earnings in recent years, with diamonds and gold contributing 20-25 percent. All other exports come from agriculture and fishing. The main destinations for exports in 1999 were the United States, the Benelux countries (comprised of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg), Ukraine, and Ireland; major importers were France, Belgium, the United States, and Côte d'Ivoire.
The lack of oil deposits and significant manufacturing means that imports are largely fuels, heavy machinery, transport equipment, and consumer manufactures. The increase in mining is reflected in the increase in machinery imports since 1995. Semi-finished goods have also increased, due to the boost in the construction industry.
Developing countries now provide one-third of Guinea's imports, whereas before industrialized countries supplied more than 80 percent. This change is mainly due to the forging of new links and a shift towards new inexpensive suppliers, predominantly the Côte d'Ivoire and China.