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Tanzania -- Trade

Internal Trade
At the end of the 1970s, wholesale business was dominated by institutions in the public sector. Retail business remained largely in small and privately owned, selling essentials like soap, cooking oil, salt, sugar, etc. to neighborhood clienteles. In February 1976, Prime Minister Rashid Kawawa announced that all private stores were to be replaced by cooperative stores. In May of the same year, President Nyerere qualified this announcement, calling for a slowdown in the process and stating that cooperative stores were to coexist with--not replace--private ones [1] .

Agricultural products have always formed the greatest part of Tanzania's exports. This said, the nature of the products has varied over time. Historical records show that sisal was the leading export in 1958, accounting for 27% of total export value that year, coffee 19%, and diamonds 11%. In 1961, sisal was still the lead export, accounting for 29% of the nation's exports, with coffee and cotton each accounting for 14%, and diamonds, 12%. In 1964, these four exports together accounted for more than 70% of total export earnings, but sisal had dropped to third place due to falling world prices. By 1975, nearly 70% of export value derived from sales of six major commodities: coffee (9%), cotton (12%), cloves (12%), sisal (12%), diamonds (7%), and cashew nuts (7%). In 1986, coffee export earnings reached US $185 million, but dropped sharply in 1991 to US$77 million due to the suspension of the International Coffee Agreement quota system. Coffee rose again in 1994 due to rising world coffee prices.

Manufacturing exports grew from US$ 39 million in 1986 to more than US$ 70 million in 1991. Mineral exports also saw a significant increase, from US$ 13 million in 1986 to US$ 42 million in 1991. Cotton exports increased from US$ 14 million in 1986 to about US$ 22 million in 1991; tobacco rose from US$ 15 million in 1986 to almost US$ 17 million in 1991; petroleum products rose from about US$ 5 million in 1986 to about US$ 7 million in 1991. [2]

Major imported products include machinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, petroleum products, and industrial materials. Major suppliers include Britain, the People's Republic of China, the European Countries, United States, Kenya, and Iran.

Here are some details of the latest information on Tanzania's principal exports and imports:

Exported Item Million US$
Coffee 137.8
Cotton 137.6
Cashew nuts 93.8
Minerals 50.4
Imported Item Million US$
Machinery and equipment 458.5
Consumer goods 361.8
Industrial raw materials 349.3
Petroleum 158.4
Building materials 42.5

Source: Economist Intelligence Unity. 1997. Country Profile, Tanzania. The Unit: London.

[1] Kaplan, Irving, ed. 1978. Tanzania, A Country Study, Foreign Area Studies, American University: Washington D.C., pp. 216.

[2] Ofcansky, Thomas P. & Rodger Yeager (eds,) 1997. Historical Dictionary of Tanzania Second Edition, Scarecrow Press, Inc.: London

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