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


Since 1930 Mongolia's predominant trading partners have been communist countries. Between 1930 and 1952, the Soviet Union was Mongolia's sole trading partner. Trade with China began in 1953 and reached its zenith in 1960, when it accounted for 18 percent of all foreign trade. Trade with other communist countries also began in the 1950s and intensified in the 1960s after Mongolia's entry into Comecon. In 1966 trade with the Soviet Union fell to 60 percent, but it has steadily risen since then, attaining 80 percent in the late 1980s.

In 1986 communist countries received 96.7 percent of Mongolian exports: Comecon countries absorbed 94.2 percent; other communist nations, such as China and North Korea, imported 2.5 percent. Capitalist countries, such as Japan and Britain, imported 3.3 percent of all Mongolian exports. Communist nations provided Mongolia with 98.3 percent of its imports; Comecon countries supplied 96.7 percent, and other communist states, 1.6 percent. Western countries provided 1.7 percent of Mongolian imports. Efforts to expand trade with Western countries were hampered by lack of hard currency.

In 1986 foreign trade with the Soviet Union, including credits, totaled 1.5 billion rubles, of which exports amounted to 400 million rubles and imports to 1.1 billion rubles. The Soviet Union provided Mongolia with machines and equipment for agriculture, light, food, mining, and construction materials industries; oil products, rolled ferrous metals; instruments; and consumer goods. In return Mongolia supplied minerals, processed foodstuffs, and such consumer goods as cashmere and camel hair products.

In 1989 little information was available on the value of Mongolian trade with other countries, but types of commodities exchanged were known. Hungary exported equipment and spare parts or light industry and food processing plants, telecommunications and laboratory equipment, medicine, textiles, and cosmetics; it imported animal hides, furs, leather products, and processed meats. Czechoslovakia supplied diesel generators; equipment for leather, footwear, and clothing industries; equipment for cement plants; medical equipment; chemicals; buses; medicines; and consumer goods. It received copper, tin, and tungsten concentrates; fluorite; and wool, leather, and furs from Mongolia. East Germany provided machinery and equipment for the light and the food industries, electrical and scientific equipment, and chemicals in exchange for mining products, leather and fur clothing, carpets, and wool. China exported textiles, machinery, fruit, and light industrial products and imported timber, wool, sheepskin, cashmere, and fur. Mongolian-Chinese trade amounted to US$33 million in 1988. In 1985 MongolianYugoslav trade totaled US$8.2 million; Yugoslavia exported US$5.4 million and Mongolia exported US$2.8 million worth of unspecified goods. In 1988 trade between Mongolia and Japan totaled US$30 million, half of Mongolia's trade with Western and non-communist countries. Mongolia sent industrial raw materials, semimanufactured goods, and ready-made apparel of cashmere and camel wool in exchange for electronic and technical equipment, including color television sets and small power generators.

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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