US tightens rules on advanced tech exports to China: Report
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is tightening rules to prevent China from obtaining advanced US technology for commercial purposes and then diverting it to military use, several sources told Reuters.
Three measures agreed to by senior US officials in a meeting last Wednesday, but not finalised, would introduce hurdles that could be used to stop Chinese companies from buying certain optical materials, radar equipment and semiconductors, among other things, from the US.
The moves are advancing as relations between the US and China, a key customer of American technology, sour over the deadly coronavirus pandemic, and tit-for-tat expulsions of journalists from each country.
They are also a sign of growing nervousness within the US government over China's "civil-military" fusion promoted by President Xi Jinping, which aims to build up its military might and super-charged technological development in tandem.
China hardliners within the administration say it is time to update US rules in light of the Chinese policy, since some US shipments abroad are authorised based in large part on whether they will be used for civilian or military applications.
DRAWING UP CHANGES
Since "the Chinese have said to us, 'anything you give to us for a commercial purpose is going to be given to the military,' what point is there in maintaining a distinction in our export control regulations?" said former White House official Tim Morrison, who was involved in drawing up the changes, which have been in the works since at least last year.
It was not clear if President Donald Trump would sign off on them, despite the decision last week to press ahead with their roll-out.
Industry fears the new rules, which include withdrawing licence exceptions, could drive Chinese consumers into the arms of foreign rivals.
"There's a chilling effect when they start taking away the availability of these licence exceptions for particular exports," said Washington trade lawyer Eric McClafferty.
"It makes people more nervous to export to China." - REUTERS