Essentially, countertrade is barter writ large
Companies that do business with other companies in countries that are cash poor or have restrictions on capital flows sometimes get paid by barter. Pepsi
might export 1 million cases of Mountain Dew
in exchange for 1 million cases of Stolichnaya
Vodka, a visit to a strip club
, and a player to be named later
...well maybe not all that other stuff, but at least the vodka
Frighteningly enough, recently Pepsi accepted 17 submarines, a cruiser, a frigate, and a destroyer in payment for Pepsi products. Pepsi plans to either sell this flotilla for scrap steel or invade Atlanta, Georgia in order to finish off Coca Cola once and for all.
A very popular indirect strategy for market entry, countertrade may account for up to 20-30% of world trade. In countries in which currency repatriation is difficult or impossible, countertrade may be the only way to profitably enter the market. Also, it can be used to compensate or give incentives to companies investing in a new market as well. Countertrade, despite difficulties involved in setting prices, inconsistencies in products, and the difficulty of converting to traditional currency trading, is expected to continue to grow, especially in developing countries.