To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has formed any policy in response to the call by the parliamentary assembly of the Western European Union on 7 December to reduce restrictions on high-technology exports to Comecon countries.
§ Mr. Maude
COCOM's role is the protection of the strategic interests of the members of the broader Western alliance. It is not an economic embargo. With our COCOM partners, Her Majesty's Government will continue to base export licensing decisions on strategic assessments which take account of geo-political and technological realities. This means assessing whether a potential export could make a significant contribution to the military capability of the proscribed destinations and their production of modern armaments.
We will also fully contribute to the continuous review of the COCOM export control lists to ensure that items of genuine relevance to Western security are controlled (not necessarily prevented from export) and those that are not are amended or deleted from the lists.