US slaps restrictions on dual-purpose technology exports to China amid concerns over military use

The U.S. on Monday (April 27) announced new restrictions on exports to China to prevent American technology from being used for military purposes. Tighter export regulations aimed to prevent China from adapting American technology for military applications.

American companies will be required to obtain a special license before selling items to China that could be used to develop weapons, military aircraft, or surveillance technology under the pretense of civilian use, said the Department of Commerce in a press release. The new rules also scrap an exception that allows companies to export civilian technologies without such a license.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. must consider the ramifications of “doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications.” The new policy also affects several countries, but it is believed that China will be hurt most in terms of sales in the semiconductor and civil aviation industries, wrote Reuters.

Citing Washington trade lawyer Kevin Wolf, the report said the restrictions address China’s practice of “military-civil fusion.” As an example, Wolf said a car company that repairs military vehicles will be considered a military end-user — a civilian company that supports military operations.

Another policy change entails ending civilian license exceptions for Ukraine, Russia, and other countries, as well as Chinese importers and nationals. Technologies no longer eligible for the exceptions span telecommunications equipment, radar, integrated circuits, and high-end computers.

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