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Peer reviewed

Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook

Ed. by Ziegler, Dieter

CiteScore 2018: 0.06

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.115
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.203

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Volume 49, Issue 2


Kompensationsgeschäfte der DDR - Instrumente einer europäischen Ost-West-Wirtschaftsintegration?

Matthias Judt
Published Online: 2016-08-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/jbwg.2008.49.2.117


The article deals with the issue of countertrades, GDR foreign commerce enterprises contracted with western firms in order to secure the modernizing of its economy. It discusses the argument of whether those contracts could establish new forms of European East-Westintegration between Comecon and EEC economies.

Starting from rather unfavorable general trading conditions in the 1950s and early 1960s, East Germany could intensify its trade relations with western countries in the late 1960s. Based on its international recognition in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it also got easier access to western credits to finance large-scale investment programs in the economy. With varying success and in order to refinance those imports from the West, GDR officials tried to conclude contracts pre-engaging western partners to accept mandatory deliveries by East German enterprises in return. The author defines three major forms of such contracts, distinguishable by the level and the type of GDR counter deliveries, agreed on by the contracting partners.

Since East Germany failed to put through high levels of its own counter deliveries, these projects contributed to its long-term indebtedness. Moreover, this kind of business, unintentionally created potential losses in the GDR’s foreign trade firms due to various factors. Western companies themselves started to market East German products received in fulfillment of countertrade contracts. Western deliverers of investment goods managed to secure higher prices for their deliveries and lower ones for East German goods in order to subsidize the marketing of East German products they had taken over. That put additional pressure on the already decreasing competitiveness of East German export goods. Finally, the article presents a judgment on the advantages and disadvantages of the countertrade concept for East Germany itself.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-08-13

Published in Print: 2008-12-01

Citation Information: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, Volume 49, Issue 2, Pages 117–138, ISSN (Online) 2196-6842, ISSN (Print) 0075-2800, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/jbwg.2008.49.2.117.

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