WORLD TRADE: Do Russians Mean Business?

When France and Soviet Russia signed their first commercial treaty in 19 years last July, the official communiqué announced only that $84 million worth of goods would be exchanged in the next three years. Last week a few details trickled out of Paris, and they were enough to raise U.S. eyebrows. In return for coal, crude oil and corn, France will send Russia 100,000 tons of rolled-steel products, 3,000 tons of lead, 3,000 tons of cork, six 5,000-ton freighters, 25 steam boilers and 200 cranes plus several shipments of textiles and North African fruits.

None of these items, said the French,...

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