Specialization Agreements

An Effective CMEA Policy Tool?

by Keith Crane, Debbie Drezner


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The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) provides an institutional framework in which the Soviet Union and its East European allies conduct their economic relations. One of the goals of this organization has been to increase economic integration among the member states. An important policy instrument employed in the pursuit of this goal has been specialization agreements. This study, which assesses the efficacy of this instrument in promoting economic integration, found little evidence that specialization agreements have contributed to economic integration. The authors also found that specialization agreements do not appear to have induced marked increases in the share of components in CMEA trade. Finally, specialization agreements have not contributed to the multilateralization of trade flows. The authors conclude that specialization agreements have not been successful in achieving many of the policy goals for which they were designed.

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