Soviet, U.S. Companies Plan Silicon Valley Meeting

By Pamela Nakaso
Reuters News

San Francisco -- May 30, 1990 -- Organizers of a "Silicon Summit" said they expect new lines of trade will open when leaders of high-tech Soviet agencies and U.S. electronics companies meet next week for face-to-face discussions.

"It's a marketing tool to allow us to penetrate a new market," David Harris, who heads Atari Corp's international division said referring to a potential deal between the company and the Soviets that the two sides will discuss as the meeting.

U.S. companies scheduled to attend the meetings include semiconductor makers Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Unisys Corp, and Varian Associates Inc

Atari, for example, wants to trade its computers for Soviet- manufactured memory chips that are used in computers and many other electronic products.

"It's a very interesting situation, and the timing appears to be perfect," Harris said. Opening new lines of trade is exactly the aim of the talks, he added, and "chances look pretty good" that will happen.

The two-week meeting in one of the centers of the U.S. high-technology industry begins on June 4, the last day of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's summit trip to the U.S.

Gorbachev is expected to meet with leaders of major U.S. corporations during a June 3-4 stay in San Francisco, but will not attend the Silicon Summit himself.

A spokeswoman for Global Development Corp, which is organizing the Silicon Valley meeting, said the two sides may form joint ventures, license technology, establish distribution channels and buy or trade products and services under pacts made during the conference.

Some U.S. companies already have forged ties with the Soviets especially since the Bush administration lifted restrictions on sales of certain high-tech products to the Eastern Bloc.

Seagate Technology Inc said it has received more than three million dollars worth of sales orders from East Bloc countries since export license requirements were lifted in early May.

"We...are in the advanced stages of negotiation with agencies in the Soviet Union," said Robert Martell, vice president of international sales and marketing for Seagate.

Hewlett-Packard Co and other U.S. companies will sell electronic medical instruments to the Soviets under an agreement signed last week.

At the Silicon Summit next week, Yuri Gulyaev, chairman of the Commission on Communications and Informatics for the Soviet Parliament and a member of the Supreme Soviet, will discuss conversion of Soviet military technology to commerical use.

In the United States, corporate and government aerospace research and devleopment has historically overlapped for military and commercial technology.

At the close of the Silicon Summit, the Soviet representatives are expected to pen a full-time sales office at Techmart, a high-tech center in Santa Clara, Calif.

Some planned features at the Soviet office include demonstrations of software, market research data, a research library and speakers bureau.

(c) 1990 Reuters Limited