Tourism and fishing are the chief sources of income. Coconuts and coconut products (especially copra) are also important. Corn, sweet potatoes, and tropical fruit are raised for local consumption, but most staple foods must be imported. Industry is limited, consisting primarily of fish and coconut processing, shipping, boat building, garment and handicraft production, and coral and sand mining. In recent years the government has encouraged more foreign investment. Fish is the largest export, while petroleum products, ships, foodstuffs, clothing, and capital goods are the main imports. Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Great Britain, and the United Arab Emirates are the major trading partners.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.