U.S. trade with the Soviet Union has always been highly politicized, and it is likely to remain relatively sensitive to political vagaries for the foreseeable future. As long as the U.S.S.R. is seen as our principal adversary, economic relations with that country will continue to be employed as an instrument of national policy to a degree not matched in U.S. relations with other countries. Having to accept the existence of continued superpower rivalry, however, does not mean that we should forgo the opportunity to improve U.S. East-West trade policymaking. On the contrary, the premise of this paper is that by reexamining the major issues in trade with the Soviets, and particularly the question of the distribution of economic benefits between the two sides, policy can be improved and U.S. benefits increased.