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Yugoslavia Table of Contents


The Third World

As a founding member of the Nonaligned Movement, Yugoslavia established and maintained commercial relations with a large number of Third World countries (see Nonalignment , ch. 4). But trade with the underdeveloped countries never approached the level of trade with Western Europe or the Soviet Union. In 1987 total trade volume with Iraq, Yugoslavia's largest Third World partner, was about one-sixth that with the Soviet Union, and onefifth that with West Germany. Between 1979 and 1987 both imports from and exports to Third-World countries declined slightly as a proportion of the respective Yugoslav totals.

In the 1980s, two factors increasingly defined Yugoslavia's trade policy with the Third World: the need for hard currency and the need to limit dependency on Soviet oil by keeping other channels open. Both considerations encouraged commercial activity with oil-rich countries such as Iraq, Iran, Libya, Algeria, Angola, and Indonesia. Because those countries also sold oil to the West, they were able to pay their Yugoslav partners in hard currency.

In the 1980s, Yugoslav energy and machine building industries were especially active in start-to-finish construction of electrical power plants and hydroelectric stations, power transmission lines, irrigation systems, and other major construction projects in selected Third-World countries. Two firms, Energoinvest of Sarajevo and Energoproekt of Belgrade, represented groups of Yugoslav enterprises that acted as contractors in such cases. In 1988 Yugoslav construction services abroad were valued at $US1.4 billion. In 1990 Yugoslav fuel industries were active in joint oil and natural gas exploration in Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Angola, and Algeria.

Yugoslav consumer goods, most notably consumer electronics from the Nis Electronics Industry, vehicles from the Red Banner auto plants, and footwear, also went to Third-World markets. Major customers were India, Egypt, Iran, and Iraq.

Data as of December 1990