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New Export Rules to Regulate Sensitive Items, Technologies

To better follow its non-proliferation commitment, China will introduce export registration and licensing systems for sensitive items or technologies.


Drafted by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) and the General Administration of Customs, the interim measures will come into practice on Thursday, according to a MOC statement.


Sensitive items or technologies refer to nuclear, biological, chemical, missile and arms material, equipment and technologies, experts say.


In recent years, China has issued a series of regulations and measures to control the export of nuclear dual-use items and related technologies, certain chemicals and related equipment and technologies, missiles and missile-related items and technologies, and sensitive items and technologies, they said.


For exporters, the interim measures will provide operational rules based on non-proliferation laws and regulations in order to guide their operations, said an anonymous MOC official.


With the emphasis on enterprises' self-discipline, the measures have empowered customs to do more checks so it can protect lawful trading and prevent the illicit exporting of sensitive items and technologies.


The measures have made public the detailed control list of sensitive items and technologies, which was also drawn up by the MOC and the General Administration of Customs, the official said.


According to the new measures, the MOC will take the lead in terms of the acceptance, examination and issuance of export licenses for sensitive items and technologies. Customs will oversee the custom procedures for enterprises which are required to hand in relevant export licenses.


Different from the management of common quota licenses, the export controls for sensitive items and technologies will follow the international practice of the so-called "Catch-all'' principle, said the official.


"If an exporter knows or should know that there is a risk of proliferation from an item or technology to be exported, the exporter is required to apply for an export license even if the item or technology is not on the export control list,'' the new measures reads.


The official said overall, China has established a law-based system for the non-proliferation export control of sensitive items and technologies in an effort to safeguard regional and international peace and stability.


According to a white paper published on December 3 by the Information Office of the State Council on China's non-proliferation policy and measures, the state relied mainly on administrative measures for import and export controls.


But its non-proliferation export control pattern has changed from an administrative to a law-based one, the paper said.


In recent years, China has widely adopted international standards, vigorously strengthened the system for ensuring non-proliferation export controls, and formulated and enforced a number of laws and regulations.


In relation to penalties for non-proliferation offences, the white paper said those who export controlled items or technologies without approval will be investigated for criminal liability in accordance with provisions in the Criminal Law.


(China Daily December 27, 2003)

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