What was the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls?


The Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) was established by the Western Bloc in the first five years after the end of World War II, during the Cold War, to put an embargo on Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) countries.

CoCom ceased to function on 31 March 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.


  • Australia.
  • Belgium.
  • Canada.
  • Denmark.
  • France.
  • West Germany.
  • Greece.
  • Italy.
  • Japan.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Netherlands.
  • Norway.
  • Portugal.
  • Spain.
  • Turkey.
  • United Kingdom.
  • United States.

Laws and Regulations

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 computer-guided 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.


In GPS technology, the term “CoCom Limits” also refers to a limit placed on GPS tracking devices that disables tracking when the device calculates that it is moving faster than 1,000 knots (1,900 km/h; 1,200 mph) at an altitude higher than 18,000 m (59,000 ft). 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. Some implementations of SDR e.g. GNSS-SDR may not implement these limits.

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