The ‘new thinking ’ in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev has extended to foreign economic policy and to the institutions through which it is conducted. In the two years since the programme for reform in this area was outlined, there have been significant changes in the traditional system of Soviet ‘state trading ’, as it is known in the West. In Soviet parlance, the process is referred to as the ‘restructuring (perestroika? of the mechanism of foreign economic relations of the USSR ’.