Export Control of Commercial Goods and Technology

T-NSIAD-87-13: Published: Mar 17, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1987.

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GAO discussed government controls over the export of commercial goods and technology that other nations could use for military or nuclear purposes. The Department of Commerce administers the control system and issues export licenses, while other agencies review certain types of licenses. The United States cooperates with other countries in this effort through an informal multilateral organization called the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Control. GAO found that: (1) U.S. export licensing requirements are stricter than those of other countries and less effective because of the growing availability of comparable products from developed countries and from newly industrializing countries; (2) while controls do hamper Soviet acquisition of sensitive goods, they also have an increasingly corrosive effect on U.S. relations with other countries and make it harder for U.S. businesses to compete in the international market; and (3) U.S. exporters view the use of controls for foreign policy purposes as causing concern about U.S. reliability as a trading partner. GAO is also studying: (1) the export and import provisions of the Libyan Sanctions Program; (2) Department of Defense implementation of and current issues relating to the militarily critical technologies approach; (3) implementation of the 1985 foreign availability statutory provisions relating to export controls; and (4) Commerce's foreign policy report to Congress that extends, with one exception, the foreign policy export controls in place as of January 20, 1987.

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