Sorensen, Theodore C.
April 1968
Foreign Affairs;Apr1968, Vol. 46 Issue 3, p575
This article presents information on the trade between United States and the Soviet Union. It is inconceivable, in fact, that the United States could not, if both parties were willing, gradually achieve a substantial exchange of goods with a massive, modern nation, now largely urbanized and industrialized but needing far more equipment and technology to fulfill its potential. Trade between the two countries today is miniscule. Except for the special sales of American wheat authorized by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and implemented under President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964, it has been miniscule since the early days of the cold war. Indeed, it has never been large, but the barriers have always been, and remain today, more political than economic. No doubt some American businessmen will always refuse to trade with a communist country on grounds it is immoral. No doubt some critics of communism will always be convinced that, without our trade, the Soviet economic system will ultimately and inevitably collapse. Other obstacles to Soviet-American trade must not be underestimated, including those inherent in doing business with a communist state. Trading with a state is not easy for private businessmen in any case, and Soviet bureaucracy can be even slower and more disorganized or over-organized than our own.


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