US COULD LOOSEN CURBS ON COMPUTERS FOR EAST BLOC

US COULD LOOSEN CURBS ON COMPUTERS FOR EAST BLOC

U.S. computer makers, always looking for new markets, may soon find a big one behind the Iron Curtain.

Dan Hoydysh, director of export licensing for the U.S. Commerce Department, said the United States and its allies are negotiating an agreement that would allow the sale of personal computers made by companies like Apple and IBM to businesses in the Soviet Union and its East bloc allies.Officials hope to have the pact completed by summer, Mr. Hoydysh said at a conference this week for representatives of export firms.

Computer makers say the proposal could open a huge new sales market

because the Soviet bloc currently has little access to the personal computer market that is booming in the West.

Tarek Ayoub, vice president of sales for CMS Enhancements, a Tustin, Calif., maker of computer equipment, said he learned at a computer fair in West Germany last year that Soviet bloc nations are paying high prices for nearly obsolete computers made in Finland and Austria.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hoydysh said the decision to sell personal computers to the Soviets had less to do with improvement of relations between the United States and Soviet Union than with the difficulty of continuing to enforce such a ban.

The Commerce Department announced last month that it was lifting controls on the sale of basic personal computers.