Sudan has long had an adverse foreign trade balance. Foreign trade has been negatively influenced by the civil war and international isolation. In August 1999, Sudan started exporting oil. Nearly 70 percent of the oil production is exported. In 1999-2000, the country experienced its first trade surplus . That surplus rose to US$500 million in 2000 on exports of US$1.7 billion and imports of US$1.2 billion.
Foodstuffs are the most important import into Sudan. But steel and alloy products were the main industrial items having been imported to Sudan. Their imports accounted for US$76.6 million. Spare parts import accounted for US$88.3 million, audio and video devices for US$43.1 million, refrigerators for US$112.2 million, personal cars for US$30.2 million, lorries and trucks for US$38.7 million, and buses for US$6.8 million.
Export and import policy has recently been liberalized. In the past, the country was isolated, and foreign trade was highly restricted. Since the early 1990s, trade
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Sudan|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
|Exchange rates: Sudan|
|Sudanese dinars per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
policy has been more open. All import prohibitions were removed with the exception of alcoholic beverages, drugs, hazard playing machines, weapons, and ammunition. Foreign trade has been especially encouraged in 2 free zones : the Red Sea Free Trade Zone and the Al Gaili Free Zone.