The Seychelles' international trade has fluctuated considerably after the country achieved independence in 1976 due to its sensitivity to world prices and economic conditions in main trade-partner countries. The country incurs trade deficits because it imports all machinery and
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Seychelles|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
equipment, and a wide range of consumer goods , including foodstuffs, and fuel. The government addresses the problem by imposing certain restrictions on imports through the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB) and by promoting self-sufficiency.
The country's economy is so small that the construction of even a single plant or hotel might significantly improve the country's statistics: the opening of a tuna-canning plant in 1987 boosted exports by 160 percent. Britain is the Seychelles' traditional primary trading partner, followed by France, Germany, and South Africa. In 1998 exports reached US$91 million, while imports reached US$403 million. The trade balance deficit was US$312 million. The Seychelles' government is working to improve the current-account balance deficit with assistance from the IMF.