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Mongolia: Foreign Economic Relations and Comecon
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Foreign Economic Relations and Comecon


In the late 1980s, Mongolia's foreign economic relations were primarily with Comecon members and other socialist countries. Mongolian policies related to Comecon were set by the Comecon Commission of the Council of Ministers. The principal official mechanisms for bilateral foreign economic relations were the various joint intergovernmental commissions on economic, scientific, and technical cooperation, which were established by treaty in the 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s between Mongolia and the Soviet Union as well as other socialist nations. Intergovernmental commissions -- such as the Mongolian-Soviet Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation -- met annually or semiannually to coordinate planning and to arrange bilateral annual, five-year, and longerterm trade and cooperation agreements signed on the deputy premier level. The Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Supply primarily, but not exclusively, was handling Mongolia's day-to-day economic interaction with foreign countries and with Comecon in the late 1980s.

Close economic ties between Mongolia and the Soviet Union have existed for a long time. For example, in 1984 MongolianSoviet links included direct ties among 20 Mongolian and 30 Soviet ministries and departments handling economic affairs as well as among 55 Mongolian and Soviet ministries and departments and about 100 Mongolian and Soviet scientific research organizations handling scientific and technical cooperation.

In December 1987, the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Supply was formed from the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations, and the State Committee for Materials and Technical Supplies. Because much of Mongolia's machinery and equipment, fuel, and consumer goods were imported, the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Supply -- rather than the Ministry of Trade and Procurement (which ran Mongolia's domestic trade system) -- had specialized organizations that combined export-import and domestic distribution functions. These organizations included Abtoneft Import and Supply Cooperative, which handled imports of motor vehicles, fuels, and lubricants; the Agricultural Technical Equipment Import and Supply Cooperative; Kompleksimport and Supply Cooperative, which imported sets of equipment for the mining industry, power stations, and production lines for the food and light industries; the Materialimpeks and Supply Cooperative, which imported construction materials and equipment; and the Technikimport and Supply Cooperative, which handled imports of industrial machinery and equipment, raw materials, chemicals, and dyestuffs.

Other organizations involved in foreign trade included Mongolimpex, which handled imports and exports of goods in convertible currencies; Mongolnom, which exported Mongolian publications; and Mongolilgeemj, which handled foreign parcel post, the sale and purchase of consumer goods, establishment of business contacts with foreign companies, and intermediary service on foreign trade and commodity exchange. The Ministry of Social Economy and Services ran Horshoololimpex, which exported handicrafts. Mongolia also had a Chamber of Commerce, the functions of which included establishing contacts between Mongolian and foreign trade and industrial organizations as well as organizing and participating in international trade exhibitions in Mongolia and abroad.

Data as of June 1989

Last Updated: June 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mongolia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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