TIRANA (SeeNews) – Albania’s trade gap in 2005 widened by 12.64 percent to 195.944 billion Albanian leks (1.6 billion euros) as imports rose much faster than exports, the National Statistics Institute (INSTAT) said. Imports were 10.8 percent higher than a year earlier, while exports rose by 5.8 percent, INSTAT said in a statement. European Union member states accounted for 88.65 percent of Albania’s merchandise trade last year, with Italy and Greece remaining the country’s top trading partners. Imports from Italy accounted for 29.31 percent of Albania’s total imports. Italy took 72.43 percent of the country’s exports in 2005. Exports of textiles and footwear accounted for 57.9 percent of Albania’s exports. Construction materials and metals were the second-biggest export item with 15.76 percent of the total, followed by food, drinks and tobacco products with 8.1 percent. Albania imported mostly machines, equipment and spare parts, which accounted for 23.58 percent of all imports. Food, beverage and tobacco products followed with 17.59 percent.