International Industrial Specialization and Cooperation Among

International Industrial Specialization and Cooperation Among Socialist Countries


very important forms of the international socialist division of labor, both among different branches of industry and within particular branches. International industrial specialization and cooperation among socialist countries help to raise the economic efficiency and the technical level of production in each country. Characteristic of international industrial specialization and cooperation is the establishment through international trea-ties and agreements of long-term industrial and trade relations for the mutual supply of products of the same kind (finished goods, machinery systems, subassemblies, parts, semifinished goods, raw materials, and fuel). By creating additional opportunities for utilizing the advantages of large-scale socialist production, international industrial specialization and cooperation lead to the expansion of the territorial boundaries of socialist labor cooperation and to the creation of mutually complementary industrial structures. The latter phenomenon becomes particularly important in the period when socialist countries are integrated economically.

Among different branches of industry, specialization is realized primarily through the exchange of fuel, minerals, and agricultural raw materials for the products of the manufacturing industries. This exchange makes it possible to meet the needs of particular countries for the raw materials and fuel in which they are deficient and creates the conditions under which the leading branches of their economies can be developed. The expansion of specialization among different branches of industry is financed by the countries on whose territory the relevant resources are found, as well as by countries interested in expanding their imports of raw materials and fuel. (Long-term credits may be appropriated for a special purpose, or joint construction projects may be undertaken.)

Because of the characteristic multibranch structure of the economies of the socialist countries, the prevailing trend in industrial cooperation among them has become specialization within particular branches of industry and cooperation in the manufacturing industries. These forms of cooperation and specialization make it possible to utilize more fully the advantages in the mass production of one kind of product, to maximize the mechanization and automation of technological processes, to attain the optimum serial production of specialized items, and to continuously raise the technological level of production. Increasingly, specialization and cooperation are becoming means for the coordinated implementation of large-scale, special programs for the solution of general economic problems within particular branches of industry, as well as between industries.

Specialization and cooperation have been promoted within the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) since 1954. COMECON agencies have drafted recommendations for specialization in approximately 4,500 products of the machine-building industry (including roller bearings), 2,300 products of the chemicals industry, and a number of products of industries such as ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy and radioelectronics.

International industrial specialization and cooperation have contributed to the expansion or establishment of many branches of modern industry in the COMECON countries. The development of specialized industries in the European COMECON countries was promoted by large Soviet orders, which, to a significant extent, determined the construction and design of a number of branches of the manufacturing industries. In particular, about half the total export of machinery and equipment from these countries is shipped to the USSR. Especially large shipments are made of transportation equipment for railroads and for in-plant use, water transportation vessels, milling equipment, and equipment for the chemicals industry, light industry, and the food-processing industry.

In developing international specialization and cooperation within branches of industry the COMECON countries have encountered certain difficulties. These were the result of an inadequate level of concentration and specialization of production within certain countries and of differences in the technical levels of the various countries. Difficulties were also generated by the existence of certain unsettled economic and legal problems, such as the establishment of prices and terms for delivery of certain specialized products and the establishment of guarantees and sanctions to ensure fulfillment of the obligations assumed by the parties to an agreement.

The Comprehensive Program for Socialist Integration, which was adopted at the Twenty-fifth Session of COMECON in 1971, established the premises for solving these problems and created the conditions for the accelerated development of international industrial specialization and cooperation. Joint planning in particular areas of production and improvements in other forms of joint planning have been widely introduced into the practice of industrial cooperation. In standardization and uniform design, cooperation is becoming stronger, and direct cooperation between the ministries, economic offices, and production organizations of the various COMECON countries is being expanded. As a result, dozens of bilateral agreements on industrial specialization and cooperation and a number of multilateral agreements have been signed by COMECON countries for the 1971-75 period. To a significant degree these agreements have determined the volume and range of mutual delivery of products of the machine-building industry and of some other branches of industry for the period up to 1975 and for subsequent years.

Cooperative ties have been expanded. For example, in the automotive industry many types of light and heavy vehicles and buses are being produced on the basis of cooperation. Cooperative ties are, in fact, becoming the material basis for the technological unification of the separate national production systems. Even at the present stage the role played by cooperative ties in this development is evident in a number of branches of the manufacturing industries in the COMECON countries. As the measures provided for by the Comprehensive Program for Socialist Integration are carried out, their role will become even greater.


Kompleksnaia programme dal’neishego uglubleniia i sovershenstvovaniia sotrudnichestva i razvitiia sotsialisticheskoi ekonomicheskoi integratsii stran-chlenov SEV. Moscow, 1971.
Kormnov, lu. F. Mezhdunarodnaia spetsializatsiia proizvodstva. Moscow, 1968.
Gavrilov, V. “Sovershenstvovanie form i metodov razvitiia mezhdunarodnoi spetsializatsii proizvodstva.” Ekonomicheskie nauki, no. 6, 1969.


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