Sino-US talks in May to mull easing American high-tech export bans

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THE United States may soon allow China to import American technology with military applications, said US Ambassador to China Gary Locke in a recent speech in Shanghai, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Beijing has long complained that US limits on exports of such high-tech equipment such as aircraft engines, underwater cameras and propulsion systems and telecom gear are tantamount to protectionism.

Mr Locke said US officials will go to Shanghai in May with a group of American tech companies to discuss what equipment China would be allowed to purchase.

"We are in the midst of a major reform and simplification that will enable more high-tech goods to be exported to China," said Mr Locke, adding that liberalisation would boost US exports and reduce America's trade deficit.

The Wall Street Journal said such moves risk a backlash from some Republican politicians in an election year. Rightist Republicans have been attacking the leftist Obama administration over its engagement with China on intellectual property, currency and market-access concerns.

"China is an increasingly hostile and disruptive force in the world. The idea that we are cooperating with them, in any capacity, is alarming," California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher told a congressional committee.

But American Chamber of Commerce in China wants restrictions eased, fearing lost sales to European producers whose products are more accessible and where China is likely to fund research.

Xinhua reports the Ministry of Commerce welcomes all measures conducive to expanding high-technology trade, "But till now, China has not seen any substantial moves from the United States to relax control over its exports to China." said a ministry spokesman.

Controlled items include aircraft and aircraft engines, avionics and inertial-navigation systems, lasers, depleted uranium, underwater cameras and propulsion systems, certain composite materials, and some telecommunications equipment for space communications or air defence, according to the China section of the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security.

Mr Locke spoke of 141 items he said China wanted from the US. China reportedly provided the US with the list in preparation for Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House in January 2011.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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