US urged to ease high-tech export control

Updated: 2011-11-21 09:58


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NEW YORK - The United States needs to ease its control of high-tech products to China to advance trade and investment, Chinese Ambassador to the US Zhang Yesui said here Friday.

Speaking at the first China General Chamber of Commerce-USA Annual Gala, Zhang told business leaders from both countries that US exports to China, which accounted for less than 7 percent of China's total imports, was not compatible with the status of the overall bilateral relationship and China's demand.

"The question is: To what extent is the US ready to fully utilize the potential Chinese market?" Zhang said.

In Zhang's opinion, the rapidly expanding domestic consumer market in China was a great opportunity for US exporters.

According to research results, consumption in China would be growing at a fairly fast pace in the next five years and total imports were expected to reach more than $8 trillion as the Chinese government intensified efforts to expand domestic demand.

"This will provide further opportunities to farmers, manufacturers and workers in the US and other parts of the world," Zhang said.

But US exports to China were growing slowly, and the proportion of US high-tech products in China's overall high-tech imports had been declining considerably, from 18.3 percent in 2001 to only 7.1 percent in 2010.

"If the US had been able to maintain its 18.3 percent share in 2010, it would have meant an increase of $46 billion to its exports to China," Zhang said.

China would have a $600 billion market for civil aviation, integrated circuits, machine tools and other products by 2020. But most of these products fell under the US export control regime, Zhang said.

"If current practices continue, many US businesses will see opportunities easily lost," he said.

The ambassador also said China-US business ties had brought tangible benefits to the peoples of both countries over the past four decades.

"It is estimated that between 2001 and 2007 alone, US exports to China brought about 2.5 million new jobs to the US," Zhang said. According to a Morgan Stanley report, four to eight million domestic jobs are closely associated with China-US trade.

Meanwhile, US imports of Chinese high-quality but inexpensive products had saved American consumers more than $600 billion in the past 10 years, which had helped boost economic growth and lower inflation in the US, he said.

Zhang also saw great potential in advancing mutual investment. He said there was a growing interest among Chinese investors in the United States, but the investment was not growing as fast as it should.

Among the $317 billion that Chinese companies had invested abroad by the end of 2010, only about $5 billion, or 1.5 percent, was made in the United States.

He expressed hope the US side could take steps to provide an open and friendly environment for Chinese investment, which would serve both countries' interests.