In normal times, Liberia was highly dependent on external trade; trade generated some 44 percent of the GDP in 1989. But the civil war severely limited Liberia's ability to produce goods for export and led to huge deficits in the trade balance. In 2000 the value of exports stood at US$55 million, compared to US$170 million in imports. However, there is a substantial unrecorded trade in diamonds, which in part explains the financing of Liberia's apparent trade deficit .
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Liberia|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
In 1999, Belgium took 53 percent of Liberia's exports, followed by Switzerland (9 percent,) the United States (6 percent), and France (4 percent). Imports in 1999 came from South Korea (30 percent), Italy (24 percent), Japan (15 percent), and Germany (9 percent).