US may overhaul export controls to boost sales to India, China

"We are reviewing the entire list of our export control system as some of the protections and restrictions make very little sense," US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said here, raising hopes among Chinese officials for acquisition of some of the latest US technology, blocked by Washington over fears of intellectual property rights.

He said US hopes to increase its exports to emerging markets, including China, India, Brazil and Russia.  China especially will be a key part of the US strategy to boost exports.
Locke is here to attend the two-day US-China Strategic and Economic dialogue starting from May 24.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Shanghai yesterday, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would head a 200-member delegation, the largest ever to have visited China, at the talks in Beijing.

The reform of US export control rules would be on top of the agenda of Chinese officials in their discussions with their US counterparts during the high-level meeting.

The US government is loosening controls over some commonly available high-tech goods, but will give more protection to the sensitive technologies that are important to national security, Locke said.

"Currently, less than 1 per cent of US exports to China require a license. Of those that do require a license, 98 per cent are approved. Streamlining items on the export control list will cause the license to be issued more quickly," he was quoted by the official media here as saying last night.

Locke, a third generation Chinese who has settled in the US, has been in China for about a week with the intent to boost clean energy sales in the country.

Though he downplayed the impact of the control rules on the US exports to China, some Chinese officials and experts said Beijing is still facing many restrictions in importing military and even civilian technologies from the US.

As a result of stringent controls imposed by the US, the nation's exports of high-tech products to China have declined from 18 per cent of its total high-tech exports in 2003, to 7 per cent in 2009, China Daily quoted Yao Jian, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, as saying.

Chinese Vice-Minister of Commence Ma Xiuhong urged the US to take substantive measures to change its export control system.

Otherwise the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries will face a "bottleneck," she said.

The Obama administration pledged earlier this year to double US exports in the next five years and create two million jobs from it.

Green energy will play a critical role in these new jobs, officials said.

In addition to the always-hot trade and economic issues, next week's dialogue will also include sensitive regional security issues.

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