During the late 1980s, exports and imports accounted for 37 percent and 46 percent of GDP, respectively. In 1999, exports stood at US$885 million, and imports totaled US$1.62 billion. After a brief trade surplus was achieved in 1992, a deficit occurred again in 1993. Due to increases in the purchase of machinery and equipment for the oil industry and increased imports of consumer goods , there was a rapid increase in imports. Accordingly, there was a chronic current account deficit, which was expected to shrink with the increase of oil exports by 2001.
Azerbaijan relies heavily on crude oil exports. Oil export figures reached 68.9 percent of total exports in 1998. Turkey was the main trading partner of Azerbaijan for both exports and imports, accounting for 22.4 percent and 20.4 percent of total exports and imports in 1998, respectively. This high rate is mainly due to the special relationship between the countries (Azerbaijan citizens speak a dialect of modern Turkish and have the same religious and cultural background as Turkey). Other major trading partners include Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran.