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Bush Administration Seeks To Loosen Rules On Sensitive Technology Sales To China

By | January 7, 2008

      The Bush administration loosened restrictions on exporting sensitive-technology items to China, to help U.S. companies sell more advanced goods to the Chinese, according to a report by a group advocating arms control.

      That move comes as some U.S. companies, and trade organizations including them, are seeking softer curbs on such sales to China.

      Military experts, however, are challenging the administration move, asking whether sales of some high-tech items to certain so-called "trustworthy" Chinese firms might wind up providing technological advancements for Chinese military hardware.

      Further, China might sell some of that American technology to rogue states hostile to Washington, such as Iran or Syria, according to the report by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control.

      While typically those in the United States who would export sensitive-technology items to China would first need a license from the U.S. State Department and/or Commerce Department, the new administration process would permit exports without a license to certain trusted firms in China.

      While some firms given the trusted-company label may be owned in part by U.S.-headquartered corporations, it is typical in China for such firms to be compelled to enter joint ventures with Chinese companies that may be linked to the People’s Liberation Army or other military-oriented entities.

      The full 20-page report titled "In China We Trust? Lowering U.S. Controls on Militarily Useful Exports to China" can be read in full at on the Web.

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