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China Brief - US-China High-Tech Trade Cooperation

Members of the Export Compliance Working Group (ECWG) recently met with Ambassador Gary Locke in Beijing, ahead of the US-China Joint Commission of Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meetings. Ambassador Locke was a driving force for export control reform in his previous role as the US Secretary of Commerce. He has led efforts to implement President Obama’s mandate to complete long-awaited export control reforms in this administration, both to enhance US national security and to make US companies more competitive abroad.


At this meeting, ECWG co-chairs Chris Szymanski (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation), Marc Allen (Boeing China), along with vice-chairs Paul Marks (Argosy International) and Angela Ling (Huawei Symantec), opened with an overview of the working group’s mission and described how ECWG is working to improve the trade control environment for high-tech trade. Also providing support to the ECWG were John Larkin and Nina Hsu from Larkin Trade International. They discussed the JCCT because Chinese negotiators cited export controls as a leading concern at the talks.


Some companies lack a clear understanding on the exports controlled and available for sale to China. Particularly in China, misunderstanding of US export control requirements often stymie otherwise valuable sales of high-tech trade items, where the US typically holds a competitive advantage. Ambassador Locke described it as a problem of perception for export control trade. But he also acknowledged the difficult realities US companies face in navigating a complicated system filled with delays and restrictive licensing policies, and which in turn can lead to lost sales for items otherwise available from other nations.


The ECWG emphasized the need to continue the public-private sector cooperative dialogue on export controls that it has been advancing in Beijing over the last few years. Senior government involvement in ECWG events and seminars has been critical to the success of its efforts to deepen cooperation between the US and China on these issues, and it is expected to remain important going forward. The ECWG thanked Ambassador Locke for his and the Embassy’s efforts on the export control system and collaboration with ECWG.