In Hearts of Iron 4 you can trade for goods you have a shortage of, like oil. There is no currency in Hearts of Iron 4, you’ll either need to trade for what you need or conquer territories containing whatever it is you lack to keep your economy strong and keep production steady.
Bartering is essentially how trade works in Hearts of Iron 4. At the trade menu you select the resource you’re lacking. You essentially trade the output of one of your civilian factories for every 8 units of the resource you’re importing.
Taking care of insufficient resources is one of the first things you do in Hearts of Iron 4. Of course, you can’t be at war with anyone you wish to trade with, and some trade routes will require convoys, which can be sunk during wartime. This will end up disrupting your supply lines for that resource. But if you’re at war with someone and can’t trade with them you can always conquer that resource rich province they have.
HOI4 Trade Screen
The trade screen can be accessed in at least two ways, by clicking on the Insufficient Resources alert when it pops up or by clicking the Trade icon. Once it’s activated you can see all your shortages and surpluses. Interestingly, every time you click on the Insufficient Resources alert it cycles through each strategic resource one item at a time, while the trade icon simply toggles the trade screen on and off.
There are only a few steps to setting up a trade deal and only one requirement and that’s not being at war with the country you want to trade with.
Setting Up A Trade Deal In HOI4
You start a trade deal by clicking the trade icon to activate the trade screen. This screen will show you how much of a resource you’re extracting, how much is being imported if you already have a trade deal set up, how much is available for export for each resource, how much is currently being consumed and what your maximum consumption could be for each resource.
Click on the resource you want to import, like oil, and a list of countries that have that resource available to export can be viewed. The list of countries can be filtered by regions or left unfiltered. If you are already trading with a country in the list for that resource, it will be highlighted in green.
Countries you can’t trade with, probably because you’re at war with them, will be in gray with a dark gray crosshatch. Countries you aren’t trading with but that are willing to trade with you will have a tan background. Click on the country to bring up a detailed trading screen. At this screen you can adjust a slider to buy the number of resources you want. Buying resources in done in units of 8 at the cost of the production from one civilian factory. For instance, buying 8 units of oil from the United States will take away one civilian factory that could be used for other things, like building infrastructure, plus it will use up some of your convoys since the United States is overseas.
One good thing to remember about trading is to adjust production to match what you’re trading for. If you’re trading for 8 oil but only need 6 it’s best to increase consumption to 8; otherwise, you’re paying for 8 but wasting 2 since resources can’t be stockpiled.
If you’re trading with someone overseas it will also require convoys, the trade screen will tell you how many convoys it will take. If you don’t have enough convoys available, you’ll need to cut back on the number of resources until the convoys you have available can handle it.
Once you’re satisfied with the trade deal click the send button and you’ll soon start receiving the resources. At the bottom of each resource column there is a crate with a red X on it. Clicking that will cancel all trade deals for that resource.
HOI4 Trade Laws
You can free up more resources for either military or civilian use by changing trade laws. This is done at the Political screen, which is accessed by clicking on your country’s flag in the upper left corner. In the Laws & Government row of icons there is one that represents your current trade law, which is the second one in the row. Clicking on it will activate a list with all your available trade laws. Changing any trade law costs 150 Political Power.
What Does Free Trade Do In HOI4?
Generally speaking, you can have extremely lax trade laws to extremely strict trade laws. Free Trade is the most relaxed law. Free Trade makes 80% of your resources available for trading. Free Trade also increases production and research speed by 15%, factory and dockyard output by 15%, and provides intelligence gains of 20% for foreign navies and 40% for foreign civilian operations.
What Does A Closed Economy Do In HOI4?
A closed economy is the exact opposite of the Free Trade law, but a lot of prerequisites must be met before it can be imposed. A closed economy diverts all resources to your war machine, none are available for trade. There are no production or intelligence bonuses associated with this law, and you’ll lose any benefits from your previous trade law once this one is imposed.
To impose this law, you must be at war, need to be Communist or Fascist, must have the War Economy or Total Mobilization law in effect and can’t either be the Soviet Union or have the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in place.
If You Can’t Trade For it Steal It!
Using the different map modes is something I frequently forget about but there are lots of useful ones, with the Resource map mode being one of them. These map mode icons are neatly tucked away at the bottom right portion of the screen, to the right of the default map mode icon.
The Resource map mode places all the strategic resource icons on the map with numbers representing how many are available in that area. If one is close by, and if you’re already at war with that country anyway, why not make capturing that particular state a priority?
Can You Export in HOI4?
You can export in HOI4, but just like in the real world you must wait for a request from another country, you can’t force anyone to take your surplus resources off your hands. At the trade screen you can see how many of your resources are available for export. If the number is a minus and in red that means they are not being exported and are essentially going to waste since resources, except for fuel, cannot be stockpiled.
Can You See Who Is Trading With Who In HOI4?
I don’t know of any way to see what countries are trading for with other countries but there is a way to find out how much stuff they are importing and exporting, even if you’re at war with them.
Using the default map mode right click on the country you are interested in to bring up the Diplomacy screen. At the right of that screen there is a details tab. Clicking on that will activate the details panel and at the upper right there is a row of icons representing resources. Hovering the mouse cursor over each one will show you how much of that resource they are producing and how much they are importing. If you really want to hurt them strike at the area where you believe their resource might be coming from, like that oil rich neighbor next to them.
You can also gain some good intel at this screen, but that’s another article altogether.