Goodyear tires in Romania

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Preparation of the tractors for the spring campaign Click here to view at EUScreen

The agricultural machinery industry in Romania had a relatively short history, even among other CMEA countries. In 1965, Romania sold a short series of sixty tractors to China. The transaction does not sound significant, but it had serious international consequences.

In February of that year, the American TV station CBS broadcasted a program entitled "East Europe: Satellites out of orbit," which showed a shipment of Romanian tractors to China. The narrator praised the pragmatism of Romanians, who sold tractors assembled from parts bought from other countries, including the Western economies. Then the camera zoomed to one of the tires mounted on a tractor, which had the company's trademark: "Goodyear, Made in the U.S.A."

That prompted an official inquiry from the State Department to Goodyear as to how its tires ended up in Romania, given that there were no records of Goodyear having applied for an export license to sell goods of potential military use. The company replied that it did not know who sold the tires and blamed Western European partners for circumventing the export rules. Eventually, the deal did not pay off for the Romanians and the small sale of tractors cost them their Western European trading partners.

How to cite this page


Slawomir Lotysz, 'Goodyear tires in Romania', Inventing Europe,


  1. Floyd, Ryan. “For Want of Rubber: Romania's Affair with Firestone in 1965.” East European Quarterly 38, no. 4 (2005): 485-518.

About this tour


The Iron Curtain and the politics of the humble tractor

Somewhat surprisingly, tractors were an important part of international relations in twentieth century. Sufficient tractor supplies meant ample harvests, but pressure to meet demand has often made it necessary to look across borders. Countries with extra tractors could use them to help the needy or to exert political pressure. The history of European tractors is also full of symbolism - from an icon of progress and equality to a tool of war.

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Tractors from Brazov (Rumania)

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