Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 1 News List

US alters policy on exports of sensitive technology to China

AFP , WASHINGTON

The US said on Friday it would revise laws to facilitate the export of sensitive high-technology equipment to China under a new policy designed to prevent such products from being used for military purposes.

The new policy will spare the need for US exporters in critical sectors such as semiconductor equipment and electronics to apply for licenses for sales to companies in China.

It will also ensure closer scrutiny of key technology purchasers in China, a senior US Department of Commerce official said.

The changes to Washington's so-called China Export Control Policy will achieve "growth in civilian high-tech trade and enhanced security," undersecretary of commerce for industry and security David McCormick said.

"These changes to technology export controls for China are a `win-win' [solution]," he told a forum of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

McCormick said Washington would urge other nations, particularly in Europe and Asia, to take similar steps.

But he stressed that Chinese companies must demonstrate an established record of nonproliferation and "responsible civilian use" of US high-tech products if they wanted to be importers under the new policy.

"This process will require unprecedented openness and cooperation on the part of Chinese companies. And it will create incentives for them to demonstrate good faith and sound practices," he said.

"In addition, it will allow US government officials to focus on more complex cases with more severe implications for American security," he said.

The new policy, McCormick said, would prevent exports of technologies for incorporation into Chinese weapons systems.

For example, McCormick said, US policy should facilitate sales of US-made semiconductors to companies in China for use in stereos or a child's Game Boy computer game console, but not for advanced missile systems or submarines.

Similarly, the cutting edge composite technology that helps China build commercial aircraft must not also find its way into the Super-7 next generation fighter aircraft, he said.

The US has been worried that China would use imported sensitive high-technology products in its rapidly expanding military modernization program, which is being implemented under a defense budget that has little transparency.

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