Vanuatu has a large imbalance in trade, with imports exceeding exports by 3 or 4 times. This imbalance is made up for by income from tourism, tax haven revenue, and international aid.
Copra has dominated Vanuatu's exports for many years; it made up 45 percent of all exports in the years 1995 to 1998. In those years, beef and timber were almost as equally important as each other, making up about
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Vanuatu|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
12 percent each, while cocoa made up about 5 percent of all exports. For copra, timber, and cocoa, the processing countries of these products are significant; the 3 most important export destinations were Japan, Belgium, and Germany. Beef was mostly exported to the nearby countries of New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, and Fiji, and to more distant Japan.
The most important imports into Vanuatu are machines and transport equipment, foodstuffs, basic manufactures, and fuels. Japan is the most important source of imports, accounting for about half of these in value. Australia is the next major source of imports, especially for food and certain types of manufactures, followed by United States, Singapore, and New Zealand.