in socialist countries, an agency of the state exercising abroad the rights inherent in the state’s monopoly of foreign trade. Trade delegations are established by a decision of the state and with the consent of the host government. The delegations represent the state in trade matters and seek to develop trade relations. Organizations empowered to engage in foreign trade rely upon the services of trade delegations, which issue import licenses, transshipment permits, and other trade-related documents. Trade delegations study the market needs, supply sources, and level of technology of the host country and report on economic conditions to their respective ministries of foreign trade.
A trade delegation forms part of a plenipotentiary mission and as such enjoys certain privileges and immunities. For example, the buildings and grounds of the delegation enjoy extraterritoriality, and the chief trade delegate and his deputies have diplomatic immunity. Trade delegations also enjoy certain immunities when carrying out their commercial functions. A delegation may appear as a defendant in a foreign court, but only in disputes arising from trade deals that the delegation has concluded in the given country and only in states where the delegation’s home government has agreed to such procedures.
In the USSR, the legal status of trade delegations is defined by the Statute on Trade Delegations and Trade Agencies of the USSR Abroad, ratified by a decree of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR dated Sept. 13, 1933; the status is also defined by international treaties and by generally recognized principles of international law.