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Public Papers - 1990

Statement Announcing the Lifting of Restrictions on Soviet Businesspeople in the United States


I have today lifted our longstanding ceiling on the total number of Soviet businesspeople who are permitted to work and reside in the United States. This action is taken as an expression of our policy to build a more normal economic relationship with the Soviets. It is also consistent with our interest in expanding business contacts and trade with the U.S.S.R. At the Malta summit last December, I proposed a work program for closer economic cooperation between our two countries. At the June summit in Washington, we signed four landmark economic agreements, including a trade agreement to expand and deepen our economic relationship. Our work continues, and as I stressed at Houston, we now place special emphasis on technical economic cooperation to help institutionalize lasting, market-oriented economic reforms in the U.S.S.R.

Our businesspeople in the U.S.S.R. and Soviet businesspeople here play an important role in this process. The time has come to eliminate obstacles to commercial presence in both of our countries and to allow the number of resident businesspeople to grow in tandem with the expansion of our economic relations.

We have made clear to the Soviets that we retain the right to reconsider our decision should there be evidence that this opportunity is being misused for intelligence gathering or other inappropriate activities.

The step taken today will of course be important to establish overall equality of opportunity for American businesspeople resident in the Soviet Union. I believe President Gorbachev shares my view and will ensure that our efforts are matched with reciprocal improvements in the climate for American business in the U.S.S.R.

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