Hungary Table of Contents
The government maintained a state monopoly on foreign trade until 1988, when it began allowing all but a few production enterprises to participate in foreign trade. In 1989 the country's once-powerful foreign-trade enterprises still existed, but they held exclusive trading rights on only a narrow range of goods. The Ministry of Trade's chief control instrument on foreign trade was the licensing of imports and exports, which the ministry could use to avoid balance of trade and balance of payments disequilibria. For example, the ministry could deny an enterprise a license to export a product to the Comecon market in order to encourage its export to the convertible-currency market. The ministry issued import licenses according to a list of priority items. Highest-priority goods were those necessary to maintain current production, including raw materials, semimanufactured goods, and spare parts. Second priority went to capital goods and machinery that could quickly boost hard-currency exports. Basic consumer goods and nonessential and luxury items constituted the two lowest categories. The government enacted austerity measures in 1988 that limited imports almost exclusively to the most essential items.
Data as of September 1989