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Relax high-tech restrictions

By Zhang Monan (China Daily)

10:07, May 08, 2012

BEIJING, May 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Despite the progress made in relations at the just-concluded fourth round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, there has been little indication that the United States intends to relax its restrictions on high-tech exports to China.

After the eruption of the global financial crisis, the US government made some changes to its decades-long export restriction system in a bid to boost its slowed exports. In 2009, the US Department of Commerce published an amendment draft on the policies of US exports to 64 countries or regions. But it excluded China, one of the largest trading partners of the US.

Unfortunately, the US has still not changed its biased approach toward technological exports to China.

Ending the restrictions and allowing unimpeded technology transfer to China would not only resolve the Sino-US trade imbalance, it would also lay the foundation for a new type of relationship between the two powers based on strategic mutual trust and economic reciprocity.

The US' high-tech restrictions are a double-edged sword. With numerous restrictive measures in place, the US has succeeded in preventing the export of some military technologies to China, but these restrictions have also hampered the export of its civilian technologies to China and seriously affected the otherwise booming high-tech cooperation between their enterprises, a leading contributor to widening trade deficit on the US side.

Statistics from China's Ministry of Commerce indicate that the value of China's high-tech imports increased from 56 billion yuan ($8.88 billion) in 2001 to 463 billion yuan in 2011, with an annual per capita growth rate of 23.5 percent. However, the proportion of high-tech imports from the US kept declining during the same period, from 16.7 percent in 2001 to 6.3 percent in 2011.

According to estimates, the year-on-year growth rate of China's high-tech imports will range from 20 percent to 40 percent over the next 10 years. That means that the US' high-tech export to China will reach $60 billion if it suspends its export restrictions and manages to maintain a 18.3 percent share of China's high-tech imports.


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