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US Urged to Scrap Trade Curbs
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A group of major US companies has urged the US Government to scrap a proposal to tighten controls on high-tech exports to China.

Household names such as Boeing and Microsoft are among the firms to speak out against Washington's proposal to amend its export-control regulations.

The companies suggested changes to the proposed regulation that would make it "clearer, simpler and less burdensome with respect to the national security decisions that company employees must make."

In a letter to the US Government, the coalition of manufacturers, software companies and high-tech industry groups said: "Our fundamental view is the regulation should be withdrawn and reconsidered in its entirety after thorough consultation with exporters."

The US companies argued that, although the proposal was made in name of national security, the proposal would not provide any additional security benefits to the United States. They warn that it could in fact undermine other US efforts to strengthen relations with China.

China's Ministry of Commerce was unavailable for comment, but senior ministry officials had earlier said the US proposal would hamper China's high-tech imports from the United States.

Encouraging US exports to China, in particular high-tech exports, is an effective way to tackle the growing trade imbalance between the two countries.

Jin Bosheng, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said he was glad to hear such a call from US companies because business pressures would also influence the US Government's final decision.

However, a US official said it was unrealistic to expect Washington to adjust or scrap its export-control policies on China.

Chris Padilla, assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, was quoted by Reuters as saying the Bush administration would try to address concerns companies have about the regulation before it is finalized sometime early next year.

"But scrapping it is simply not in the cards because the rule derives from very fundamental tenets of US policy," said Padilla.

(China Daily December 5, 2006)

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