Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) was established by the Western Bloc in the first five years[1] after the end of World War II, during the Cold War, to put an embargo on Comecon countries. CoCom ceased to function on March 31, 1994, and the then-current control list of embargoed goods was retained by the member nations until the successor, the Wassenaar Arrangement, was established in 1996.


CoCom had 17 member states:

Laws and regulations[edit]

In the United States, CoCom compliance was implemented in the 1960s via the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the State Department's regulatory supervision on AECA via International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which are still in effect.


Toshiba Machine Company of Japan and Kongsberg Group of Norway supplied eight CNC propeller milling machines to the Soviet Union between 1982 and 1984, an action that violated the CoCom regulations. The United States' position is that this greatly improved the ability of Soviet submarines to evade detection. Congress moved to sanction Toshiba and ban imports of its products into the United States.[2]

In a related case, French machine maker Forest Line exported several machines for fabricating fuselages for fighter planes and turbine blades for high-performance jet engines. This information came to light during an investigation by the Norwegian police into the Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal.[3]



In GPS technology, the term "CoCom Limits" also refers to a limit placed on GPS receivers that limits functionality when the device calculates that it is moving faster than 1,000 knots (510 m/s) and/or at an altitude higher than 18,000 m (59,000 ft).[4] This was intended to prevent the use of GPS in intercontinental ballistic missile-like applications.

Some manufacturers apply this limit only when both speed and altitude limits are reached, while other manufacturers disable tracking when either limit is reached. In the latter case, this causes some devices to refuse to operate in very-high-altitude balloons.[5]

The Missile Technology Control Regime's Technical Annex, clause 11.A.3, includes a speed limit on GNSS receivers, set at 600 m/s.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yasuhara, Y. (1991). "The Myth of Free Trade: The Origins of COCOM 1945–1950" (PDF). The Japanese Journal of American Studies. 4: 127–148. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-07-30.
  2. ^ Seeman, Roderick (April 1987). "Toshiba Case—CoCom - Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Revision". The Japan Lawletter. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  3. ^ Sanger, David E. (23 April 1988). "4 in France Arrested in Soviet Sale". The New York Times. p. 37. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  4. ^ js (October 6, 2010). "COCOM GPS Tracking Limits". Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  5. ^ Graham-Cumming, John. "GAGA-1: CoCom limit for GPS". Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Current situation with CoCom regulations and GPS receivers for balloons and cubesats". Space Exploration Stack Exchange.
  • Mastanduno, M. (1992). Economic containment: CoCom and the politics of East-West trade. Cornell paperbacks. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y. ISBN 978-0801499968
  • Noehrenberg, E. H. (1995). Multilateral export controls and international regime theory: the effectiveness of COCOM. Pro Universitate.
  • Yasuhara, Y. (1991). The myth of free trade: the origins of COCOM 1945-1950. The Japanese Journal of American Studies, 4.