The Department of Statistics at the Ministry of Planning has released figures for 1999 showing a decline in the Kingdom's imports by 6.6 percent to SR 105 billion [U.S. $ 28 billion] from SR 112.4 billion [U.S. $ 29.98 billion] in 1998. The main supplier of goods in 1999 was the United States of America with SR 19.8 billion [U.S. $ 5.28 billion], accounting for 19 percent of all imports, followed by Japan with SR 9.6 billion [U.S. $ 2.56 billion], and the United Kingdom with SR 8.5 billion [U.S. $ 2.27 billion].
The figures also showed that Saudi Arabia's imports from member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) reached almost SR 10 billion [U.S. $ 2.67 billion] in 1999, an 8.9 percent increase over the SR 9.2 billion [U.S. $ 2.45 billion] recorded a year earlier, with the United Arab Emirates topping the list at SR 6.4 billion [U.S. $ 1.71 billion].
Overall last year, the Kingdom imported machines and appliances worth SR 25.2 billion [U.S. $ 6.72 billion], accounting for 24 percent of all imports. Food imports stood at SR 18.1 billion [U.S. $ 4.83 billion] or 17 percent of the total, while vehicles and other transport equipment amounted to SR 15.2 billion [U.S. $ 4.05 billion] or 15 percent.