Vice President Bush revealed today that the United States and its allies have agreed to speed up approval for technology exports to China.
A U.S. diplomat said this amounts to a vote of confidence in China's economic modernization program and means there is less fear that technology meant for civilian use by the Chinese might be diverted into military programs.
Approvals of licenses for technology exports to China often are delayed for as long as 180 days in Cocom, the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls, which oversees exports of sensitive western technology to communist countries. The 15-nation, Paris-based organization includes all the NATO countries except Iceland. It also includes Japan. As much as 80 percent of Cocom's caseload now involves proposed exports to China.
In a speech at Sichuan University on the fourth day of a six-day visit to China, Bush said the United States believed processing time in Cocom should be reduced. He said the U.S. government had already greatly increased its technology exports to China.
Under new procedures, Bush said, fewer cases will go to Cocom, and all cases will receive speedier treatment. A U.S. diplomat said that as many as one-half or more of submissions for technology sales to China now will be approved automatically or nearly automatically.
After many months of review and discussion, diplomats from the Cocom nations decided a month ago to liberalize the approvals for technology sales to China. Member nations were given 30 days to raise objections and none was raised by the Oct. 15 deadline.
In Washington, a State Department official said an agreement implementing these changes is expected to go into effect by early next year.
In his speech to about 500 students at Sichuan University, Bush attributed China's increased agricultural production to greater freedom extended to farmers. "It's very simple," he said. "More freedom, more food, more incentive, more production."