US urged to relax satellite export restrictions

US urged to relax satellite export restrictions

The Ministry of Commerce expressed concern after the United States kept a tight rein on the export of satellites and related items to China, and a senior China-US trade expert urged Washington to drop its Cold War mindset and lift the barriers to benefit both countries.

The responses came after US President Barack Obama signed on Thursday the National Defense Authorization Act of the 2013 fiscal year.

The authorization act includes provisions that relax export restrictions but continue to ban the export, re-export or transfer of satellites to China, as well as the launching of US satellites in Chinese territory.

Shen Danyang, the ministry's spokesman, said on Saturday in a statement that China is "deeply disappointed and dissatisfied" with the US action.

"The US has not fulfilled its promise to benefit China in its reform of the export control system and boost exports of high-tech equipment to China," he said.

"In addition, the US rolled out measures to hinder satellite cooperation for civil purposes between the two countries," he said.

China urged the US to meet its commitment, stop acting in a discriminatory manner and soften the restrictions in real terms, which will help bilateral trade and is in line with the two countries' common interests, he said.

According to US media reports, the provisions permit the Obama administration to remove satellites and related equipment from the US State Department's munitions list, which restricts weapons exports to other countries.

However, under the provisions, satellite exports would remain prohibited for launches from China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Sudan.

"The provision puts China on a list with the DPRK and countries that the US deems as supporting terrorism. It's not in line with US foreign policy concerning China," Zhou Shijian, a senior trade expert and professor at Tsinghua University, said on Sunday.

Currently, the US policy concerning China is to cooperate with China and try to contain it as well. But China is not an enemy of the US, he said.

In addition, the satellite cooperation for civilian purposes is "commercial activity", and barring it is not in line with countries' interests, he said.