In 1999, Mongolia derived its GDP from 3 principal sectors: agriculture, fishing, and hunting (33 percent), industry (24 percent), and services (43 percent). Historically,
During the 1990s, Mongolia experienced a deep recession with the disappearance of Soviet economic assistance and the disintegration of the Soviet-backed Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), which had been a major market for Mongolian exports. The country increasingly relies on the export of raw materials to the international market, and it is extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for its major export products, copper and cashmere. Mongolia needs large foreign direct investments and international assistance to modernize existing technologies and to begin major economic changes. In the 1990s, the Mongolian government undertook a series of free-market oriented economic reforms focusing on privatization, internal and external trade liberalization, and promotion of private entrepreneurs. In 1997, because of its rapid and extended economic liberalization, Mongolia became one of the first of the former socialist countries to be accepted into the World Trade Organization (WTO), opening up Western markets for Mongolian goods.