Beijing welcomes US move on exports
Washington has agreed to allow some high-tech goods into China
Beijing has welcomed Washington’s decision to allow some high-tech items from the US to be exported into China.
“We welcome this move, as mutual benefit is the essence of Sino-US economic and trade relations. We hope to strengthen mutual investment for a sustainable, stable and healthy development of bilateral trade links,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
Forty-six of the 141 high-tech items requested by China will be granted approval to enter the Chinese market, US Ambassador to China Gary Locke said on Monday during a function to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Shanghai Communique.
“As a result of our work together, the United States has indicated that 46 of these technologies can be readily exported to China, and some may not need a license at all,” Locke said.
The US government is in the midst of a major reform and simplification process that will enable more high-tech goods to be exported to China, he said.
“We need additional detail from China on the remaining requested items, so that we can determine whether and under what conditions they can be exported,” he said.
In May, the US embassy will bring a delegation of US companies to Shanghai to meet with Chinese companies interested in purchasing these high-tech goods, said the ambassador.
Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said this is a direct result of China’s repeated requests, adding that Chinese leaders had raised this issue almost every time during high-level dialogues.
The announcement comes at a time when pressure is mounting on President Barack Obama as he prepares for a presidential election in which the economy is expected to be the biggest issue.
“Considering the sluggish domestic consumption and investment and that there are no emerging industries that could promote rapid economic growth, the only way for the US government to turn around its economy is to boost its exports,” Ni said.
He said the US traditionally has had three major export markets – Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
But since Europe is suffering from a full-scale economic crisis and weapons seemed more popular in the chaotic Middle East, Asia is a good destination for US products, as it has pledged to double its exports in the next five years, he added.
“By boosting exports of mature technologies to China, which has a strong operability, the US could make its overseas trade data much more attractive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ni added that the decision might be connected with the recent lowered tone by the US on its “return to Asia” strategy, as the decision may alleviate some concerns from China.
However, analysts also said the decision by the US to allow some high-tech exports into China was symbolic, and the effect will depend on how it is implemented.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of US studies at Beijing-based Renmin University of China, said compared with the trade barriers and pressure that the US has put on China, the decision may have little impact. “We welcome this decision, but how much of an effect will a mere 46 high-tech items have?” Shi said.
Shi said he was skeptical whether the US would further ease restrictions on high-tech exports to China, as the US has always been conservative on this issue and not willing to make major adjustments.
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