MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE | SOVIET ARCHIVES

 Soviet Union Information Bureau

FOREIGN TRADE


SOVIET foreign trade is a state monopoly. The Government through the Commissariat for Trade regulates export and import operations which are permitted only with special licenses issued by the Commissariat.

The Commissariat, however, does not actually carry on the foreign trade operations itself. Exports and imports are handled in the U.S.S.R. by state trading companies, cooperative societies, industrial organizations and finally concession and mixed (Soviet and foreign capital) enterprises.

In foreign countries sales and purchases are made on behalf of the above organizations by the Trade Delegations of the U.S.S.R. and also, to a limited extent, by special representatives of Soviet trading organizations. In countries where there are no Soviet trade delegations trade with the U.S.S.R. is conducted through corporations with which special arrangements are made. In the United States, in the absence of a trade delegations Soviet trade is handled by the Amtorg Trading Corporation, All-Russian Textile Syndicate, Inc., CentrosojusAmerica, Inc., and SelskosojusAmerica, Inc.

A general export and import plan for the year is prepared in advance by the Commissariat for Trade. In this plan the export possibilities both in regard to agricultural and manufactured products are evaluated and on the basis of the export expectations an import program is drawn up. The import program provides primarily for the needs of various industries, transportation and agriculture. On the basis of the foreign trade plan export and import licenses are granted to organizations in the U.S.S.R., whether state organs, cooperative organizations or private and concession firms.

The principal exporters from the U.S.S.R. last year were the state exporting joint-stock companies (whose stock is owned by various producing organizations), such as Exportkhleb (Grain Export), Lnoexport (Flax Export) and promexport (Industrial Export). These organizations exported across European frontiers alone in 1926-27 products valued at 264,805,000 rubles. State syndicates and trusts engaged in marketing products both on the domestic and foreign markets (such as, for instance, the Soviet Oil Syndicate) exported goods valued at 166,811,000 rubles, and the Soviet general trading companies, the so-called "Gostorgs" of the Russian and other constituent republics exported goods valued at 127,194,000 rubles. Among other exporters were cooperatives, several foreign firms and mixed companies which are doing a limited export and import business in accordance with special concession agreements and, finally, private parties.

Exports across European frontiers for 1926-27 and 1925-26, by groups of exporters:

  1926-27 1925-26
  (in thousands of rubles)
Gostorgs 127,194 101,980
Syndicates, trusts and state organs 166,811 125,242
State joint-stock companies 264,805 260,118
Cooperatives 68,928 61,238
Mixed companies 22,242 15,645
Foreign firms 23,384 18,359
Private parties 1,522 2,474
Unspecified 3,354 4,068
Total 678,240 589,124

The greater part (over 75 per cent) of imports into the U.S.S.R. in 1926-27 were brought in by Soviet trusts, syndicates and special joint-stock importing companies. The remainder of the purchases abroad was made for co-operatives, Private and mixed companies and the Gostorgs.

Nearly three-fourths (72.3 per cent) of all purchases abroad for shipment to the Soviet Union were made last year directly by the Soviet trade delegations and by the Amtorg Trading Corporation in the United States and the Yuzhamtorg in Argentina. The remainder was purchased by other organizations abroad such as agencies of the cooperatives and firms purchasing cotton and wool for the Soviet Textile Syndicate. The share of the trade delegations showed an increase over 1925-26, when it amounted to 57.4 per cent of the total.

Similarly, 65.3 per cent of all sales of Soviet products abroad were handled in 1926-27 by the Soviet trade delegations in various countries and by the Amtorg Trading Corporation in the United States, while 34.7 per cent of the sales were handled by other organizations, including concessionaires. In 1925-26 the percentages were 55.5 and 44.5, respectively.

While the license system is generally strictly applied in Soviet foreign trade, several minor exceptions have been made in regard to certain eastern countries. The nationals of these countries are allowed within certain limits to import into the U.S.S.R. raw materials and to export manufactured products, according to specified lists.

The growth of the value of the foreign trade turnover is shown by the following table:

1913 $1,490,495,000
1922-23 199,300,000
1923-24 484,910,000
1924-25 666,925,000
1925-26 737,995,000
1926-27 763,796,500
1927-28 885,079,000

Exports and imports for the past four years

  Exports Imports Trade Balance
1924-25 $296,125,000 $370,800,000 -$75,675,000
1925-26 348,449,000 389,546,000 41,097,000
1926-27 396,807,500 366,989,000 + 29,818,500
1927-28 398,558,500 486,520,500 - 87,962,000

Exports as listed above do not include exports of gold. The principal countries taking Soviet exports are England (26 per cent), Germany (22 per cent), Latvia (7.5 per cent), France (1 per cent), Persia (5.6 per cent).

The principal countries furnishing Soviet imports are Germany (23 per cent), United States (20.5 per cent), England (14.2 per cent), Persia (5.4 per cent).

Above figures are for 1926-27.

Exports and imports across the European frontiers, by countries, in rubles:

  1926-27 1927-28
  Exports Imports Exports Imports
Australia   15,600,000   29,000,000
Austria 3,600,000 19,700,000 7,600,000 16,S00,000
England 197,500,000 97,100,000 147,700,000 45,400,000
Belgium 13,200,000 100,000 11,200,000 1,300,000
Germany 167,300,000 157,700,000 185,400,000 242,000,000
Holland 23,200,000 4,900,000 16,600,000 3,700,000
Greece 6,500,000 400,000 5,500,000 200,000
Denmark 9,900,000 900,000 11,400,000 2,000,000
Egypt 5,900,000 20,800,000 9,500,000 32,600,000
Italy 37,700,000 3,200,000 25,800,000 9,100,000
Latvia 57,400,000 1,600,000 79,900,000 5,800,000
Norway 15,700,000 3,000,000 2,400,000 5,000,000
Poland 19,500,000 13,100,000 14,900,000 6,000,000
United States 17,300,000 143,400,000 22,100,000 181,500,000
Finland 10,500,000 17,700,000 7,600,000 16,500,000
France 54,100,000 21,700,000 40,400,000 35,300,000
Czecho-Slovakia 2,200,000 10,800,000 3,700,000 57,200,000
Sweden 6,200,000 11,800,000 3,500,000 15,900,000
Esthonia 6,900,000 3,600,000 4,300,000 2,700,000
Other countries 23,300,000 76,700,000 35,800,000 151,200,000
Total 678,200,000 623,800,000 635,800,000 820,100,000
Total dollars $349,293,000 $321,257,000 $327,437,000 $422,351,500

Exports and imports across the Asiatic frontiers, in millions of rubles:

  1925-26 1926-27
  Exports Imports Exports Imports
Persia 35.2 38.0 43.3 38.4
China 16.8 18.2 18.7 20.9
Japan 9.1 2.2 11.5 3.0
Mongolia 3.7 3.7 4.6 7.6
United States 6 2.2 5.9 2.2
Afghanistan 2.5 3.0 3.4 4.0
England 2.6 4.2 1.2 4.0
Germany 0.0 3.8 1.8 3.8
Other countries 12.0 7.4 1.9 4.9
Total 87.5 82.7 92.3 88.8

According to preliminary estimates, foreign trade over the Asiatic frontiers for 1927-28 amounted to 262,720,000 rubles ($135,300,800) an increase of 48 per cent over 1926-27. Exports were 138,100,000 rubles and imports 124,600,000 rubles, giving a favorable balance of 13,500,000 rubles.

EXPORTS. The principal Soviet exports are grain products, oil products, furs, timber, dairy products, manganese ore, oil cake and flax and tow. Industrial exports increased from 32.4 per cent of the total in 1926-27 to 42.5 per cent in 1927-28. Grain exports decreased nearly 80 per cent, while other exports increased by one-third.

Exports across the European frontier:

  1926-27 1927-28
  Tons (metric) Rubles (Thous.) Tons (metric) Rubles (Thous.)
1. Agricultural Exports
Grain Products 2,603,028 231,021 556,367 51,512
Including: Grain 2,226,821 204,969 363,334 34,228
      Oil Cake 345,868 22,251 188,032 16,602
      Oil Seeds 30,339 3,801 5,001 682
Butter 30,284 34,224 32,821 39,120
Eggs 5,865 28,954 8,632 40,462
Poultry and Game 9,257 7,112 16,353 10,687
Fish Products 7,742 5,907 12,527 9,654
Meat Products   7,460 35,587 16,072
Flax and Tow 41,817 19,267 26,361 20,703
Hemp 7,973 1,896 11,575 3,35
Bristles 1,192 6,709 1,363 6,58
Casings   9,664   10,658
Furs   80,319   113,371
Other   25,903   43,591
Total Agricultural Exports   458,436   365,771
II. Industrial Exports
Timber 2,133,181 70,263 2,495,218 80,266
Oil 3,005,132 83,813 2,642,516 98,239
Manganese Ore 784,686 24,090 498,881 13,752
Iron Ore 407,685 4,215 428,435 4,524
Coal, Coke 272,218 3,231 219,289 2,011
Asbestos 9,927 2,533 11,147 3,206
Sugar 69,631 9,114 75,848 10,134
Cotton Cloth   165   1,393
Other   23,380   56,538
Total Industrial Exports   219,804   270,06
Total Exports   678,240   635,841

IMPORTS. The principal Soviet imports are cotton, industrial machinery, non-ferrous metals, leather, wool, tea, paper and cardboard, woolen yarn and agricultural machinery. Imports of cotton, machinery and metals play a larger comparative role in the general import scheme than they did before the war, and imports of consumption goods have fallen off.

During 1927-28 imports of production goods made up 88 per cent of the import total.

Imports over the European frontier:

  1926-27 1927-28
  (In Thousands of Rubles)
I. Producers' Goods including:    
(a) Industrial and Transportation Equipment 146,406 247,300
      Including: Industrial Equipment 131,243  
      Transportation Equipment 15,163  
(b) Raw Materials 293,932 330,038
      Including: Cotton 120,651 134,865
      Wool 35,323 42,582
      Iron and Steel 10,743 15,559
      Non-ferrous metals 44,569 54,700
      Hides 37,650 38,506
      Crude Rubber 23,555 24,097
      Other 31,442 19,729
c) Semi-manufactured Products 92,313 105,945
      Including: Leather 4,092 3,016
      Paper & Cardboard 17,311 13,729
      Tanning Materials 11,678 14,720
      Paints & Dyes   10,964
      Other 49,043 63,518
d) Fuel 5,587 622
e) Agricultural Implements, etc 36,399 37,355
      Including: Agricultural Implements &    
      Tractors 23,040 20,673
      Other 13,359 16,682
Total Producers' Goods 574,637 721,260
II. Consumers' Imports including Foods 29,763 69,267
      Including Dry Fruit 293  
      Rice 82  
      Tea 20,552 28,965
      Herrings 3,159 2,496
      Oranges and Lemons 1,456 2,453
      Sugar 86 227
      Other 3,635 34,273
Goods of General Consumption 15,545 25,994
Total Consumers' Goods 45,308 95,261
Other Imports 3,864 3,538
Total Imports 623,809 820,059