With imports of $180 million and exports of $47.8 million in 1998, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' import bill is on average approximately 4 times that of what it earns through exports. Its main source of imports in 1998 was the United States, which contributed some 35 percent of the total. The other main suppliers of the country's imports were other CARICOM countries (22 percent) and the United Kingdom (11 percent). The main imports of foodstuffs, fuel, and machinery are distributed among those suppliers.
The main export, bananas, is directed towards the United Kingdom, which accounts for 42 percent of Vincentian exports. The other main export market is
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): St. Vincent & the|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
comprised of CARICOM members such as Trinidad & Tobago, which imports much of Saint Vincent's agricultural produce. Rice, flour, and other food items are also exported regionally.
The deficit in the balance of trade is partly offset by tourism receipts and by revenue from the financial sector. Another important source of foreign exchange is the regular remittance payments sent back by Vincentians working overseas.