The U.S. has streamlined its controls for the sale of “dual-use” technologies to China, a U.S. Department of Commerce official said this week.
“Our goal is straightforward: that China’s development be both peaceful and prosperous,” said David McCormick, undersecretary of commerce for industry and security, in a transcript of a speech given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
“U.S. export control policies that facilitate legitimate civilian technology trade while discouraging China’s military buildup are critical to this objective,” he said.
Dual-use technologies are products that have both civilian and military applications. Under revised rules, Chinese companies that import certain technologies must show the U.S. government they have a “record of nonproliferation and responsible civilian use of U.S. imports,” McCormick said.
As a result, U.S. semiconductor and electronics companies will no longer have to apply for export licenses to sell certain products to these companies.
“These changes to technology export controls for China are a ‘win-win.’ They enhance both U.S. economic and security interests while encouraging China to act as a responsible stakeholder now and in the future,” McCormick said.
The U.S. government has long restricted sales of high-technology items to military customers in China. Chinese efforts to acquire improved missile and naval technologies have been a particular concern for U.S. officials.
At the same time, China’s fast-growing market is an increasingly important source of revenue for U.S. technology companies. In 2004, U.S. semiconductor companies sold more than US$2.9 billion worth of goods to Chinese customers, McCormick said.
“A fair and growing U.S.-China trading relationship will be a critical factor in the economic and political successes of both countries, and we must find ways to encourage the growth in legitimate civilian technology trade,” he said.
-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)
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