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Malta is traditionally a net importer.
Imports of goods and services to Malta amounted to around €5 billion in 2009, whilst exports reached €4.5 billion that year. Trade is essential to Malta’s economy, as evidenced by the fact that it amounted in total to 150% of the country’s GDP in 2009.
Malta has historically had problems with its trade balance, mainly due to the fact that it is a small island that has to import essential commodities such as oil and foodstuffs. In 2009 the country registered a trade deficit of €1 billion, although by the end of 2010 this had decreased to €850 million.
Malta’s main imports and exports are agricultural products, manufactured goods, and fuel and mining products. Manufactured goods dominate the country’s exports – over 90% of all exports were of this type in 2009. Similarly, 70% of imports were manufactured goods. Agricultural products made up a substantial minority at around 16% of imports in 2009. Malta mainly exports to the EU, although Singapore and the United States are significant markets too. Almost 70% of Malta’s imports are from the EU.
As a member of the European Union Malta adheres to the Common Customs Tariff and other EU regulations with regards to imports and exports. The average ad valorem tariff for imports into the EU is 5.6%.