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U.S. to lift ban on high-tech exports to China

Staff writer |
The United States said it will "actively" carry out a plan to lift bans on high-tech exports to China, a long-term irritant in economic ties between the world's two largest economies.

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The development is a sign that recent military and trade friction will not deter the two nations from steadily advancing their economic relations, experts said. Wang Chao, vice-minister of commerce, said the US has agreed to promote high-tech exports to China, especially in civil aviation, information technology and oil and gas exploration for civilian use, China Daily reports.

The agreement was reached at annual trade talks between the two countries in Beijing. In 2011, they signed a plan covering US technology exports to China in major sectors as well as an agreement on its implementation, but experts said Beijing and Washington have made little progress in boosting high-tech trade.

Wang said the US restrictions on technology exports are a major reason for the trade deficit between the two countries. "It is beneficial for both countries to reach consensus on the issue. Technological products from the U.S. accounted for about 18 percent of China's total technology imports nearly a decade ago, but now this stands at 7 percent," he said.

Niu Jun, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University, said the US move is a very tentative step forward. "The US has shown its sincerity to some extent, but it is difficult to draw a clear line between civilian and military purposes, as many technologies and products can be used both ways. US concerns over the exports are still huge."

The two countries also signed a memorandum on energy cooperation but no further details have been disclosed.

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