The Clinton Administration is making it easier for U.S. companies to sell telecommunications and computer equipment abroad, including in China, Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union.
The Administration said Wednesday that on Friday it will lift licensing requirements for numerous “low-level” items that could not be used for military advantage against the United States or its allies.
The new policy was announced by National Economic Council Chairman Robert Rubin and the Commerce Department. White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, provided some additional details.
Among the items that will be affected by relaxed rules are cellular mobile phones that can be used to send and receive calls over a wide geographic area, one White House official said.
Another official said the Administration does not believe the new policy will hinder efforts to promote human rights reform in China.
“We think it’s in U.S. interests” to promote the trade, he said.
The Administration said the relaxed rules will help U.S. companies to compete in a $150-billion global market.
The companies still would be barred from exporting to nations that the United States regards as supporting terrorism, including North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Cuba.
“This licensing change will make our businesses more competitive abroad . . . while maintaining controls on items and technologies we consider to be sensitive for security and non-proliferation reasons,” Commerce Secretary Ron Brown said in a statement.
The announcement was welcomed by some businesses. Business groups had expressed disappointment earlier this year when the Administration proposed changes in federal export licensing law, saying the reform did not go far enough.