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US Curbs Hurt Bilateral Trade
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China yesterday criticized a revised US regulation which tightens controls over high-technology exports to the country.

By imposing restrictions on more categories, Washington has ignored China's efforts at enlarging imports from the United States, which will negatively affect the process of balancing two-way trade, Yao Shenhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said yesterday.

He was responding to the latest US rule on dual-use high-tech exports to China, published by the US Department of Commerce last Friday.

According to the regulation, the licensing requirements are expanded to a list of items covering 20 product categories and associated technologies and software, which the US government defined as those that "could contribute to China's military modernization".

Items subject to the new military end-use controls include aircraft, avionics and inertial navigation systems, lasers, depleted uranium, and some telecommunications equipment for space communications or air defense. The list was compiled by the US state, commerce and defense departments.

A US rule last year targeting China requires licenses for many items not previously controlled, and affected 47 categories of high-tech products.

China has been striving to narrow its trade surplus with the United States by importing more high-technology products.

"The new regulation increases the costs for Chinese firms involved in high-technology trade and hurt their confidence in conducting trade with the US," Yao said.

The new rule imposes "irrational barriers" to bilateral trade, without considering Chinese views, he added.

US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said in a press statement on Friday that "this new rule strikes the right balance in our complex relationship with China".

"It is a common-sense approach that will make it easier for US companies to sell to pre-screened civilian customers in China, while at the same time denying access to US technology that would contribute to China's military. The steps we are taking today are good for national security, and for American exporters and jobs."

The American Chamber of Commerce, representing US businesses, claimed in a report published earlier this year that the draft rule would not effectively advance US policy objectives and would instead have the undesirable effect of needlessly penalizing US businesses.

(China Daily June 20, 2007)

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