OPINIONS New technology export controls are to better align with the times

OPINIONS

New technology export controls are to better align with the times

China Daily

22:18, August 30, 2020


The core module of China's space station in research. (Photo: China Daily)

China on Friday revised its list of technologies that are banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years.

Nine technologies have been deleted from the list and 23 new technologies added, while the key points for control of the other 21 technologies have been updated.

Although, as the Commerce Ministry has made clear, the purpose of the revision is to regulate the administration of technology exports so that the country can better promote technological progress and economic and technological cooperation, and also protect its economic security, there are some trying to interpret it otherwise, particularly against the background of the rising tensions between China and the United States.

Notably, as experts point out, the revision puts the transactions of "customized information push service technology based on data analysis" and "artificial intelligence interactive interface technology" under stricter State control. Which might directly affect ByteDance, as it will need the government's approval before divesting itself of its TikTok operations in the US. Since this will be equivalent to exporting technologies on the list and it will have to complete the necessary licensing procedures.

Chinese companies have leading advantages in these technologies thanks to their foresight and the huge inputs they have made as well as the fast development of relevant industries in China.

But although this is a swift fallout of the newly revised restrictions, it should not be taken as their purpose. It is a consequence within the range of the restrictions' intended functions, after all, successful companies act as economic security pillars.

The voices warning that the Chinese wolves are coming never mention the fact that it is a conventional practice of many developed countries — from which China drew lessons to establish its catalogue of restricted technologies in 2002 — to regularly revise their lists of technologies banned or restricted for export so that they keep pace with the changing situation.

The adjustment of the catalogue is a necessary and fixed step that China must take to facilitate its trade in technology with other economies, as a clear and updated catalogue of technologies banned and restricted for export is conducive to facilitating its administration of the trade so that it is more transparent and predictable in light of international standards, which is in line with the interests of all parties.

As China has never ceased its efforts to strive for a higher position in the global supply chains, its adjustment of the catalogue of technologies banned or restricted for export will only become more frequent in the future, as it is predictable that more emerging technologies of strategic importance will be included, and some old technologies will be removed from it.

Even for the technologies that are still not yet exportable so far, if they are of importance to public good, China has never hesitated to share their fruits with the world, and it will continue to do so to let technology better serve the people.

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