EAST-WEST TRADE: Cracks in the Ice

After five ballets, three state dinners and a liver-taxing marathon of vodka toasts to Soviet-American friendship, Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans and his aides arrived home last week, hopeful that their mission to Moscow would help open a new millennium of trade between the two superpowers. While Stans was busy gaining five pounds from eleven days of Russian hospitality, Soviet-American commerce was likewise growing heftier.

A group of American firms, including United States Steel Corp., signed contracts to sell $65 million worth of ore-mining and oil-drilling equipment to the Russians in return for $60 million worth of...

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