The Soviet Union is boosting imports of shoes, boots, soap, toothpaste and small tape-players this year to make up for chronic shortages on store shelves, a newspaper report said.

The weekly Arguments and Facts, in its April 15-21 edition, quoted Deputy Trade Minister Suran Sarukhanov as saying officials have added $8 billion to this year's $51.2 billion fund for imports of consumer goods.The money will go for 15 million pairs of leather shoes, 12 million pairs of warm women's boots, 300 million razor blades, 10 million compact cassette players, as well as clothing, soap and detergent, toothpaste and other goods, Sarukhanov was quoted as saying.

"Our partners were amazed at our uncharacteristic urgency," Sarukhanov was quoted as saying.

Soviet officials have signed agreements with Yugoslavia, Turkey, Malta, Japan, Cyprus, Britain, West Germany, France, Italy and Finland, he said.

Officials decided to boost imports in December, and Sarukhanov said the goods started to appear on store shelves this month.