INTRODUCTION
Trade restrictions
International trade has been hampered throughout the years by restrictive measures imposed by individual countries for self-protective, trading, political or other reasons. Poor economic conditions in a number of developing and other countries often require special measures to protect an undue outflow of international currency. This results in tightening import restrictions resp. the need for triangular transactions, i.e. payments via third countries within the framework of existing bilateral payment agreements (clearing accounts) et cetera, alternatively barter and/or countertrade operations, all of which present a daily headache for international industry and trade.

Clearing accounts
Ever since World War II, there have been clearing accounts between a great number of countries, which in fact were the basis for a substantial part of world trade. Already in those days, the skill and ingenuity of individual businessmen helped to find ways and means to cope with a given situation and to make sure that goods produced by certain countries, would reach their obvious markets. This was done by introducing special schemes to convert bilateralism into certain forms of multilateralism and to balance the trade between these countries also in those cases, where the needs of a specific country could not normally be made up by the volume or quality of its existing export programme.

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