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US High-tech Export Boost 'a Move in Right Direction'
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The US is moving in the right direction by boosting high-tech exports to China, but the benefits do not seem as great as the US had claimed, Chinese trade analysts said yesterday.


Their reaction comes after the US government published preliminary rules on US export controls to China on its Federal Register on Thursday for public comments.


The rules, spanning 47 categories of technology goods, deal exclusively with China.


By revising the export control rules, the US has strengthened its economic and security interests, said David McCormick, US undersecretary of commerce for industry and security.


Export controls, a product of the Cold War era, aim to limit the shipment and sales of goods that could pose national security threats if obtained by certain countries of concern. Many US technology companies see export controls as barriers to the Chinese market. Such controls are also believed to have caused a huge US trade deficit with China.


The revised and enhanced rules are positive for both US exporters and Chinese users, said Mei Xinyu, a trade expert at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.


"We are still waiting for more technical analysis of the rules. But at least the new rules are more clear than the vague stipulations of the past," he said.


The Ministry of Commerce has not responded to the preliminary rules.


But Mei said despite Washington's repeated vows to boost high-tech exports to China through this revision, he did not see many concrete moves.


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


Rather than having to obtain licenses certifying that their products comply with the cumbersome demands of US export control regulations, the US companies would now be allowed to trade freely with any Chinese companies on a list provided by the US government.


"But it may mean shifting the troubles to Chinese companies," Mei said.


To become eligible to import certain technologies, Chinese companies must undergo a certification process in which they "should demonstrate an established record of non-proliferation and responsible civilian use of US imports," according to the rules.


McCormick cautioned earlier that the certification process will require unprecedented openness and cooperation on the part of Chinese companies.


US high-tech exports to China amounted to only US$12 billion last year, compared to US$41.8 billion for total exports, according to US customs statistics.


(China Daily July 8, 2006)


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