Europeans Denounce US Proposal To Sanction Countries Exporting to Communists

Carl Hartman
The Associated Press

January 29, 1988

Representatives of 12 West European governments are denouncing a congressional proposal to punish countries that ship sensitive technology to the Soviet Union or its allies.

"Such extraterritorial application of U.S. law is unacceptable to the European Community and its member states as a matter of law and policy," they said in a note to the State Department.

The member states are: France, West Germany, Britain, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Ella Krucoff, press officer for the group, said Britain, France, West Germany, Italy, Portugal, Holland and Belgium also sent individual notes to the same effect.

The penalties are in an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, to a broad trade bill passed by the Senate. Another version of the bill, without the amendment, has passed the House. The two versions have not yet been reconciled. President Reagan has threatened a veto.

Penalties in Garn's amendment vary from two to five years and would bar businesses in offending countries from exporting goods to the United States and from receiving U.S. government contracts.

"The provision would claim jurisdiction over persons who are not U.S. citizens and over acts which have not taken place in the United States," the European note said.

The 12 governments warned that if the legislation is adopted in its present form they would move to protect their rights under international accords. The note did not specify what they would do.

The United States and 15 allies belong to the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM). Members include Japan and members of the European Community with the exception of Ireland.

Ties were strained last year when Japan's Toshiba Corp. and Kongsberg Vaapenfabrik of Norway sold computerized submarine manufacturing equipment to the Soviet Union. The equipment has enabled the Soviet Union to make its submarines quieter and harder to detect.

In a two-day meeting this week at Versailles, near Paris, the COCOM nations agreed to more strictly police export of controlled items, but at the same time to reduce the number of restricted items. The accord was designed in part to head off congressional proposal's like Garn's.

The European note is dated Jan. 15. A copy of the note was made available to The Associated Press Friday.

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