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Beijing urges US to end tech ban

By Cheng Guangjin and Pu Zhendong | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-29 00:21

China urged the United States to abandon its new government ban on purchasing information technology systems made by companies in China, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The ban will affect mutual trust and hurt the Sino-US trade relationship, said Hong Lei, the ministry's spokesman. He was responding to the provision in a spending bill signed by US President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Analysts said the US is taking advantage of cybersecurity issues to protect its own information technology industry, which is "pouring cold water on the two countries' trade ties".

"China's information technology industry has been developing rapidly in recent years, and this has had a great impact on the same industry in the US," said Ni Feng, a researcher of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The provision prohibits the US Commerce and Justice departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation from buying information technology systems that are "produced, manufactured or assembled" by any entity that is "owned, operated or subsidized" by China, The Associated Press reported.

The agencies can only acquire the technology if, in consultation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they determine that there is no risk of "cyberespionage or sabotage associated with the acquisition of the system", said AP.

The bill "uses cybersecurity as an excuse to take discriminatory steps against Chinese companies", Hong said.

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