Edmond M. Ianni


At least six considerations compel a review of the international practice of state trading. First, state trading is practiced widely throughout the world and embraces at least one quarter of world trade. From a domestic perspective, United States trade with state trading countries continues to grow and, therefore, is directly relevant to the United States national interest. Second, increasing international economic interdependence has augmented the role of state trading in international trade by the inducements of economic necessity and efficiency. Third, recent Eastern European trends toward greater private economic autonomy have facilitated trade relations between free market countries and state trading countries, thereby fostering a stronger economic nexus between market economics and nonmarket economies. Fourth, to the extent that foreign policy making and international trade are intertwined, state trading enters the policy making calculus as a relevant factor. Fifth, current political unrest and uncertainty in state trading countries, as in Poland and the U.S.S.R. for example, have actual and potential repercussions on the financial, legal and political aspects of international trade. Sixth, state trading itself is organization (e.g., the foreign trade structure of the Soviet Union). These considerations have important implications for the legal, political and economic frameworks in which state trading is practiced.