A congressional study says the United States should look for ways to reduce its heavy dependence on South Africa and the Soviet Union for important metals that American industry needs.
The study suggests the United States is dangerously dependent on imports worth more than $1 billion yearly of chromium, cobalt, manganese and platinum from those two countries and other southern African nations.
The report by the Office of Technology Assessment, which advises Congress on highly technical matters, was released Monday by Rep. Dan Glickman (D-Kan.), who put special emphasis on imports from South Africa.
"By following up on the study's recommendations, we can substantially reduce our import dependence of these materials from South Africa and, thus, broaden our foreign policy options in that region," Glickman said.
The report, based on a two-year study, calls for reducing imports from sources "of uncertain reliability" by emphasizing conservation measures and increased domestic and foreign production.
"Reliance on a potential adversary such as the Soviet Union for materials essential to defense and industry is an obvious area of concern," the report says. "Nor is it certain that supplies from nations in southern Africa will continue without interruption."