A watchdog group including Western nations has agreed to begin relaxing controls on the export of advanced technology to Eastern Europe, but the United States has insisted that some of the concessions do not yet apply to the Soviet Union, Western officials said Friday. Unable to agree on most specifics, the Coordinating Committee on
Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), made up of 14 Western European
countries, the United States, Japan and Australia, did reach these three basic agreements: To reduce from 12 weeks to 8 weeks the time that COCOM takes to review requests by Western companies for permits to export sensitive items to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
To ease curbs on the sale of computers, precision machine tools and
telecommunications equipment to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Such goods account for about half of the 1,500 or so items whose export is controlled and for about 80 percent of the license applications.
To examine requests by Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia for preferential treatment in exchange for pledges and verification mechanisms to ensure that technology with potential military applications does not reach the Soviet Union.