Export Controls:

Advising U.S. Business of Policy Changes

NSIAD-90-201: Published: May 18, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reported on U.S. information dissemination regarding export control developments, focusing on: (1) the timeliness of implementation of agreed-upon U.S. export control changes; (2) U.S. actions to liberalize the list of controlled commodities; and (3) whether such practices would create disparate treatment between American exporters and their foreign competitors.

GAO found that: (1) the United States maintains its strategic export control program in cooperation with its major western allies through the Coordinating Committee On Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM); (2) the United States had improved its ability to implement changes to its export control list, but had not been able to consistently meet the agreed-upon effective dates; (3) some COCOM member countries regularly met effective dates and generally published changes faster than the United States; (4) foreign competitors appeared to know about impending control liberalization earlier than U.S. firms, which gave foreign competitors increased opportunities in targeting marketing activities, negotiating sales, consummating sales agreements, and establishing marketing footholds; (5) the United States did not publish or disseminate information to the business community pertaining to exceptions COCOM granted to export-controlled commodities and precedent-setting U.S. licensing decisions, primarily because of U.S. confidentiality concerns; (6) the COCOM review process is complex and lengthy, consisting of two rounds of discussions; (7) other COCOM countries treat COCOM information in a less guarded manner than the United States; and (8) COCOM was discussing the liberalization of export controls to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

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