USSR: unacceptable cost of delivering the goods.

USSR: unacceptable cost of delivering the goods. - Jonathan Taylor, chief executive of food giant Booker, declared at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, that it just doesn't make sense to invest in the Soviet Union because of the lack of a ret

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Jonathan Taylor, chief executive of food giant Booker, declared at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, that it just doesn't make sense to invest in the Soviet Union because of the lack of a return in hard currency. His views suggest that private enterprise may be best stirred up from the bottom through local entrepreneurs. Poland shows the possibilities and the pitfalls. After two years of freedom, Poland has 75% of its shops in private hands, selling a full 90% of all retail goods. In the Soviet Union a similar potential can be seen: in four years, over 260,000 co-ops have sprung up, producing 7% of GNP. But, going back to Poland, we find that shadowing this business spirit is bad news. A year ago Poland boasted a trade deficit of a mere $200 million. It is now $2 billion. It seems the goods in these private shops are coming straight off the docks from overseas. It may be fattening the pockets of some - but at a cost the vast majority will be reluctant or unable to pay.

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