U.S. Could Sell Sensitive Technology to Chinese Importers

The United States may ease regulations on Chinese imports of sensitive American technology if the importers can show they are not using it for military purposes, a U.S. official said Monday.

Companies that earn such trust could skip some bureaucratic oversight on importing restricted technologies that could have either peaceful or military uses, David H. McCormick, the U.S. undersecretary of commerce for industry and security, told reporters in Beijing.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China says that current U.S. export controls are too broad, opaque and unpredictable, driving some Chinese companies to avoid buying technology from the United States altogether.

McCormick praised a current system under which a U.S. official visits Chinese companies to make sure they are not diverting imported American technology into the military. He said that process could be expanded.

McCormick made the remarks after a day of meetings with Chinese officials, including Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai.

He did not mention any specific technologies, or give further details, but said a full proposal will be made public in the coming weeks.