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May 08, 2006 

Under Secretary McCormick Contends That Export Controls Aren't to Blame for Trade Deficit With China

The San Jose Mercury News today published an op-ed piece by David McCormick, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, entitled "Export controls aren't to blame for trade deficit with China". The article counters recent criticism by China claiming that restrictions on the export of U.S. technology is a primary cause of the U.S. trade deficit with China. Under Secretary McCormick writes that the "facts tell a different story" and that export controls on "dual-use" products have a "negligible" impact on trade with China. The article claims that of the" $12.3 billion in U.S. high-tech exports to China in 2005, less than 20 percent required an export license." In addition, he contends that "less than 6 percent of U.S. exports to China in 2005 required government approval, and only $12.5 million worth of proposed exports were denied, far less than 1 percent of the total U.S. deficit." The article notes that in 2005, the Commerce Department processed license applications to China "in record time of about 40 days per submission, nearly 25 percent faster than in previous years."

Under Secretary McCormick's article also addresses the issues raised by the pending military "catch-all" regulation, by stating that the U.S. government must "continue to refine measures to implement America's longstanding policy of precluding exports that would support Beijing's military modernization, while facilitating exports to legitimate civilian customers." He wrote that the "export control system needs to permit exports of sophisticated machine tools, for example, for building civilian aircraft, while preventing their export for use in warplane production."

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