East European Reliance on Technology Imports from the West

by Steven W. Popper

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This report, an overview of current East European reliance on technology imports from the West, assesses the importance to the East Europeans of these imports. The study develops a measure to provide a relative scale of reliance on Western imports for a sample of high-technology commodities for each of the six East European members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia, from 1980-1984. The analysis indicates that (1) there is a great diversity in the degree of reliance on Western imports between countries and across commodities; (2) the measure of Western import reliance generally declined during this period; (3) the countries of Eastern Europe tend to rely on the West more for the less compressible higher-technology goods included in the sample than for general machinery imports, and they rely more on the CMEA than on the Soviet Union; and (4) U.S. ability to unilaterally affect Western technology deliveries to Eastern Europe is limited.

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