Soviet Union Information Bureau
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:
|(in thousands of rubles)|
|Syndicates, trusts and state organs||166,811||125,242|
|State joint-stock companies||264,805||260,118|
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:
Exports and imports for the past four years
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:
Exports and imports across the Asiatic frontiers, in millions of rubles:
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:
|Tons (metric)||Rubles (Thous.)||Tons (metric)||Rubles (Thous.)|
|1. Agricultural Exports|
|Poultry and Game||9,257||7,112||16,353||10,687|
|Flax and Tow||41,817||19,267||26,361||20,703|
|Total Agricultural Exports||458,436||365,771|
|II. Industrial Exports|
|Total Industrial Exports||219,804||270,06|
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:
|(In Thousands of Rubles)|
|I. Producers' Goods including:|
|(a) Industrial and Transportation Equipment||146,406||247,300|
|Including: Industrial Equipment||131,243|
|(b) Raw Materials||293,932||330,038|
|Iron and Steel||10,743||15,559|
|c) Semi-manufactured Products||92,313||105,945|
|Paper & Cardboard||17,311||13,729|
|Paints & Dyes||10,964|
|e) Agricultural Implements, etc||36,399||37,355|
|Including: Agricultural Implements &|
|Total Producers' Goods||574,637||721,260|
|II. Consumers' Imports including Foods||29,763||69,267|
|Including Dry Fruit||293|
|Oranges and Lemons||1,456||2,453|
|Goods of General Consumption||15,545||25,994|
|Total Consumers' Goods||45,308||95,261|
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