Libya's international trade has been characterized by a positive balance since the 1960s. One estimate put its 1999 balance as US$7.01 billion in exports, and US$4.21 billion in imports, creating a trade surplus of US$2.79 billion, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Oil and gas and their refined products accounted for about 95 percent of Libya's exports in 1999. Its major imports are food, capital goods , transport equipment, and iron and steel products.
Libya has reduced its trade with the ex-socialist countries since 1991, while expanding trade with North African and Western countries. The suspension of UN sanctions removed barriers to trade with most Western countries. Italy, Germany, Spain, Turkey, France, Sudan, the UK, and Tunisia have been the major destinations of exports for Libya since 1990. With 40.1 percent, 17.8 percent, and 11.3 percent share of exports, the first 3 countries were the largest destinations in 1998. In that year, Italy, Germany, the UK, France, Tunisia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, and Japan were the major exporters to Libya. The first 3 were the largest exporters in 1998 with 22.9 percent, 12.2 percent, and 9.1 percent share of exports, respectively.
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Libya|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|