The external financial stringency experienced by many countries has led to widespread attempts to compress imports. The import reductions have frequently affected categories essential to investment and certain types of production. For example, many countries have reduced imports of machinery, equipment and industrial supplies. This, in turn, has led to lower levels of economic activity in most developing countries.
Import compression after 1982 in several highly indebted developing countries, many of which, especially in Latin America, are major trading partners of the USA, accounted for a large part of the decline of exports from the USA after 1982.