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Exports and Imports

Although Mongolia's foreign trade has risen consistently since 1940, it has registered chronic deficits. In 1940 foreign trade amounted to 144.2 million tugriks, of which 54.9 million represented exports and 89.3 million represented imports. In 1960 foreign trade jumped to 676.7 million tugriks (289.6 million in exports and 387.1 million in imports), but it increased more slowly in the next decade. It reached 820.5 million tugriks in 1970, of which 337.6 million represented exports, and 482.9 million, imports. External trade more than tripled between 1970 and 1980, rising to 2.8 billion tugriks - 1.2 billion tugriks in exports and 1.6 billion tugriks in imports. In 1985 foreign trade totaled 5.3 billion tugriks, with exports valued at 2 billion tugriks and imports at 3.3 billion tugriks.

In the 1980s Mongolia exported primarily fuel, minerals, metals, and raw materials, including foodstuffs, and it imported machinery and equipment, fuels, and consumer goods. Agricultural products initially made up most of the exports, but they decreased in importance as exports of minerals expanded after 1970. Exports of processed foodstuffs and such consumer goods as woolen blankets and leather clothing increased after 1970, while exports of unprocessed foodstuffs and animal products declined. Since 1970 imports of machinery and fuels have risen, and those of consumer goods have fallen.

Foreign Trade, 1970, 1980, and 1985

(in percentage)
Raw materials and processed products (nonfoodstuffs)58.530.924.5
Raw materials (foodstuffs)19.513.46.2
Industrial consumer goods5.99.616.8
Fuel, minerals, raw materials, and metals5.426.442.6
Chemicals, fertilizers, and rubber - - - - - -
Construction materials0.90.40.6
Machines and equipment0.20.30.1
Total exports100.0100.0100.0
Raw materials and processed products (nonfoodstuffs)
Raw materials (foodstuffs)
Industrial consumer goods36.320.917.3
Fuel, minerals, raw materials, and metals12.824.128.7
Chemicals, fertilizers, and rubber5.16.36.0
Construction materials1.71.91.4
Machines and equipment25.933.136.2
Total imports*100.0*100.0100.0
- - means negligible.
*As published.
Source: Based on information from Mongolia, Central Statistical Board, National Economy of the MPR for 65 Years, 1921-1986, Ulaanbaatar, 1986, 340-42.

Principal export commodities included cement, lumber and sawn timber, wool, large and small hides, grain, meat, and clothing. Although mineral exports were substantial, no figures were available on export volume. Principal import commodities included machine tools, diesel generators, electric motors, transformers, construction equipment, motor vehicles, gasoline and diesel fuel, iron and steel, fertilizers, cement, foodstuffs, textiles, and consumer goods. The Eighth Plan called for increasing foreign trade volume by 20 to 25 percent, for improving the quality and the selection of export products, and for raising the proportion of mining and light industrial products in exports.

Principal Foreign Trade Commodities, 1986

Cementthousands of tons13
Meat and meat products-do-44
Large hidesthousands121
Small hides-do-1,256
Lumberthousands of cubic meters39
Sawn timber-do-121
Clothingmillions of rubles38
Cementthousands of tons49
Fresh fruits-do-2,600
Gas, diesel, and paraffin-do-788
Lubricating oil-do-24
Refined sugar-do-42
Rolled iron and steel-do-74
Canned vegetablestons1,500
Cotton clothmillions of meters55
Silk and synthetic cloth-do-8
Woolen cloth-do-1
Clocks and watches-do-120,000
Diesel generators-do-7
Electric forklifts-do-17
Machine tools-do-50
Radio receivers-do-17,100
Sewing machines-do-10,100
Television sets-do-11,000
Washing machines-do-6,500
Leather footwearthousands of pairs566
Source: Based on information from Europa Year Book, 1988,London, 1988, 1, 865.

Last Update: 2010-12-07