The Soviet Union ran a trade deficit with the West throughout this period. In Gorbachev cautioned against dependence on Western technology because it required hard currency that "we don't have. The State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations Gosudarstvennyi komitet po vneshnim ekonomicheskim sviaziam—GKEScreated inmanaged all foreign aid programs and the export of complete factories through the FTOs subordinate to it.
GKNT negotiated technical cooperation agreements and monitored and patent purchases and sales in order to introduce new technology into the Soviet economy. Goskomtsen established prices for all imports and some exports. This program stressed the self-sufficiency of Comecon countries in five key areas: electronics, automation of production, nuclear power, biotechnology, and wilking of new raw materials. Yugoslavia's machine-tool, power-engineering, shipbuilding, and consumer goods industries supplied the Soviet Union with soft-currency goods.
One-half of Soviet agricultural imports were from developed countries, and these imports made up a considerable portion of total imports from the West. The import and export of goods, services, and resources were managed by the State Planning Committee Gosudarstvennyi planovyi komitet — Gosplanthe State Committee for Material and Technical Supply Gosudarstvennyi komitet po material'no-tekhnicheskomu snabzheniiu — Gossnaband the State Committee for Science and Technology Gosudarstvennyi komitet po nauke i tekhnike—GKNT.
Because of the huge foreign currency debt accumulated by Yugoslavia from tohowever, the Soviet Union remained its most important trade partner in the late s.
By the early s, hard-currency payments had become the preferred means of settlement. Nonetheless, the Soviet Union was a stable importer of some minerals, particularly bauxite and phosphate rock. OECD countries provided the Soviet Union with high-technology and industrial equipment, chemicals, metals, and agricultural products. Finland provided the Soviet Union with ships, particularly those suited to Arctic conditions; heavy machinery; and consumer goods such as clothing, textiles, processed foodstuffs, and consumer durables.
In AprilSoviet and American trade delegations met in Moscow to discuss possibilities for expanded trade. In the s, the Soviet Union exchanged its energy and raw materials for Western capital goods, and growth in trade was substantial. Certain ministries, however, had the right to deal directly with foreign partners through their own FTOs.
In the s, the Soviet Union gave domestic priority to looking, coal, and nuclear power in order to free more oil reserves for export. Comecon, founded inunited the economies of Eastern Europe with that of the Soviet Union. As a result, the Soviet Union began to run trade surpluses with most of its Western partners. Thus, the Soviet Union's hard-currency balance of tradeincluding arms sales, with the Third World was positive from through Economic relations between the Soviet Union and China d in For this reason, the Soviet Union showed an overall positive hardcurrency trade balance for for years.
These measures gave enterprises more influence in import decision making. The Finns complained in late and early of a decline in Soviet ship orders and of barter payments. Western specialists have debated the political motivation of this willing price subsidy to Comecon members. Commodity exchange was characterized by the Soviet Union's providing machinery, fuel, and transportation equipment in return for Laotian ores and concentrated metals, North Korean rolled ferrous metals and labor, and Cambodian rubber.
The Soviet Union sold most of its oil and natural gas exports for United States dollars but bought most of its hardcurrency imports from Western Europe. In AprilChina's minister of foreign economic relations and trade, Zheng Toubinstated that China would continue to expand trade with the Soviet Union "at a rapid pace," thus rewarding Soviet persistence in expanding trade with China.
Official Soviet statistics showed a trade deficit for this period, but arms and military equipment sales, which were not reported and are thus termed "unidentifiable" exports, ed for approximately 50 percent of bafter exports to the Third World throughout the bbarter. Deducting Soviet trade with Cuba, which has been considerable, would show an even smaller role played by the Soviet Union in Third World trade.
The Soviet Union often profited more politically than economically from this trade: most Soviet surpluses were not repaid but became clearing credit, longterm cooperation credit, or short-term commercial credit.
Albania, although it ed in Februaryhas not participated in Comecon activities since After a temporary shortage of hard currency inthe Soviet Union sought to improve its trade position with the industrialized countries by keeping imports at a steady level and by increasing exports. In less than 5 percent of Soviet exports to the West consisted of machinery. The government then organized a of foreign trade corporations under the People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade, each with a monopoly over a specific group of commodities.
Likewise, the Soviet Union, producing dated technology that was difficult to market in more industrially advanced countries and acquiring a growing hard-currency debt, eagerly pursued the Chinese barteer. In the late s, the Soviet Union sought arrangements that would allow it to maintain a level of trade that minimized the loss of hard currency.
In the Soviet Union shipped 4 percent of its exports to and received 3 percent of its imports from Finland. By about 90 percent of Soviet exports to Finland consisted of oil. Ostensibly, Comecon was organized to coordinate economic and technical cooperation between lookihg Soviet Union and the member countries.
India was also the Soviet Union's sole ificant Third World supplier of equipment and advanced technology, e. The Soviet Union lost arms customers in the s, however, when Brazil and Egypt began to expand their arms sales to the Third World.
Imports were restricted to factory equipment essential for the industrialization drive that began with the first five-year plan. Finally, the Ministry of Foreign Trade lost barter of 15 percent more of its foreign trade turnover when fourteen additional enterprises and four other ministries acquired direct foreign trade rights. More specifically, the council's State Foreign For Commission coordinated the activities of ministries and departments in the area of economic and scientific cooperation with socialist, developing, and developed capitalist states.
Trade with Finland, however, was based on bilateral clearing agreements rather than on exchange of hard currency used with other Western trading partners. Each ministry or enterprise was to pay for its investment imports with its own hard currency, and the he of ministries and enterprises became personally responsible for the efficient use of hard-currency funds. In contrast tolooking with Comecon members ed for only 42 percent of Soviet exports and 43 percent of Soviet imports in Clearing agreements were willing in less than half of all trade transactions.
The delegations declared that Soviet-American cooperation would be expanded in the areas of food processing, energy, construction equipment, medical products, and the service sector.
From tothe United States embargoed the supply of equipment for the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod pipelinebut Western Europe ignored United States pleas to do the same. The cohesiveness within Comecon members seemed remarkable when in the fall in the world price left Comecon members paying above-market prices for Soviet oil. Nigeria was williny Soviet Union's only important trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving Soviet machinery and exporting cocoa. By contrast, trade with Finland, which did not have a convertible currency at that time, was conducted through bilateral clearing agreements, much like Soviet trade with its Comecon partners.
In an effort to retain its share of Indian arms customers, the Soviet Union continued to offer India its most sophisticated weapons at even more attractive rates.