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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Africa, Asia, and Latin America

During the 1980s, the geographical pattern of Soviet-Third World trade changed markedly (see table 50, Appendix A). A decrease in trade with North Africa and the Middle East balanced a substantial increase in trade with sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

In 1987 about 50 percent of the Soviet Union's total identified exports to the Third World went to Asia, and India was the Soviet Union's biggest trade partner. In exchange for Soviet oil and oil products, India supplied food, raw agricultural material, clothing, textiles, and machinery. India was also the Soviet Union's sole significant Third World supplier of equipment and advanced technology, e.g., computers and copiers, much of which was produced by Indian subsidiaries of Western multinational corporations. Malaysia, another important partner of the Soviet Union in Asia, was an important supplier of rubber, palm oil, and tin.

From 1980 to 1983, Soviet exports to Africa increased slightly to 30 percent of its Third World exports and decreased thereafter. Imports from Africa fluctuated from 1980 to 1985 but remained at about 25 percent. Nigeria was the Soviet Union's only important trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving Soviet machinery and exporting cocoa.

Exports to Latin America grew during the 1980s and reached 8 percent in 1985. Latin America's share of Soviet Third World imports was high (40 percent in 1982) because of large imports of Argentine grain. As the Soviet Union's main grain supplier, Argentina was the Soviet Union's most significant import partner in the Third World in 1980, 1981, and 1983. In 1986 the Soviet Union renewed its grain agreement with Argentina for another five years. However, because of a US$11 billion trade deficit with Argentina that the Soviet Union had amassed from 1980 through 1985 and the successful Soviet harvest of 1986, the Soviet Union cut its grain imports from Argentina drastically. In 1986 they were at a six-year low.

Data as of May 1989