Export Controls:

U.S. Policies and Procedures Regarding the Soviet Union

NSIAD-90-185FS: Published: May 24, 1990. Publicly Released: May 24, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on U.S. export controls regarding the Soviet Union, focusing on: (1) export control policies and procedures; (2) the current U.S. level of control over exports to the Soviet Union; (3) U.S. plans to liberalize such controls; and (4) U.S. businesses' views on the impact of export controls on U.S.-Soviet trade.

GAO found that: (1) the United States controlled its militarily significant exports to the Soviet Union and other selected countries by licensing exports to every country except Canada; (2) the Department of Commerce administered the control system and reviewed all proposed exports, and the Department of Defense reviewed technically sophisticated proposed exports; (3) about 85 percent of U.S. exports to the Soviet Union were agricultural goods and did not require a license, but most technical goods did require a license; (4) from 1987 to 1989, U.S. export applications that required a license increased from 1,110 to 1,813, or 63 percent; (5) from 1987 to 1989, the U.S. approved $2.6 billion in export licenses and disapproved about $1 billion; (6) domestic changes in the Soviet Union prompted negotiations for a significant U.S. reduction in export controls; (7) U.S. allies were likely to support U.S.proposals regarding liberalized export control policies; (8) U.S. businesses believed that U.S. export controls imposed for national security and foreign policy reasons hindered their marketing efforts in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; (9) U.S. businesses believed that U.S. controls were more strict and time-consuming than those of other countries; and (10) the United States had about 100 joint ventures in the Soviet Union, but most were in low-technology or service industries, and only a few had been successful.

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