EXPORT CONTROLS TO BE REVIEWED

EXPORT CONTROLS TO BE REVIEWED

Cocom, the 16-nation body that monitors exports to the Eastern bloc, will hold a working-level meeting at its headquarters this summer, mainly to study whether to relax export restrictions on China, government sources said Thursday.

Both Japan and the United States are expected to make specific proposals for loosening the controls at the upcoming meeting, and both governments are reviewing Cocom's list of embargoed items, they said.The member nations of Cocom - an abbreviation for the Coordinating Committee on Export Controls - agreed at their last policy meeting in late January to re-examine their embargo on military and strategic goods in order to expand East-West trade.

Japan has already started relaxing Cocom regulations with regard to China, following Beijing's protest against Japan's stiffening of measures for compliance with Cocom rules.

That stiffening came after news reports said Japan's Toshiba Machine Co. had exported machine tools to the Soviet Union that could be used to make Soviet subs run quieter.

The government banned Toshiba from exporting to the Eastern bloc for one year. However, China complained that halting the firm's earlier contracted exports to that country was hurting its production plans.

Japan partially relaxed the ban on Toshiba and excluded China from the list of countries subject to Cocom restrictions, but China has nevertheless asked Japan to work for the abolition of all Cocom controls over exports there.

The United States also appears to have decided to relax controls over exports to China. The United States and China recently settled a dispute over Chinese exports or Silkworm missiles to Iran.

Both Japan and the United States are expected to extend their lists of items for export to China that are already exempted from Cocom's list of embargoed goods.

Paris-based Cocom includes all NATO countries except Iceland but including Japan.