In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union traded with fourteen socialist countries. The political and economic relationships between the Soviet Union and these countries determine the four groups into which these countries can be divided: members of Comecon; Yugoslavia; China; and the developing communist countries of Cambodia, Laos, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). Business with socialist countries was conducted on a bilateral, country-by-country basis in which imports balanced exports. Soviet oil exports to these countries bought machinery and equipment and industrial consumer goods, as well as political support without the expenditure of freely convertible foreign currency. In addition, Soviet aid programs, which took the form of direct loans or trade subsidies, almost exclusively involved socialist countries.