White House readying new limits on tech exports to counter China

The White House is reportedly planning new limits on technology exports in an effort to counter China’s reverse-engineering of U.S. technology, though President Trump on Tuesday appeared to dispute a report that his administration was blocking aircraft engines going to China.

The Commerce Department is planning five regulations covering items like quantum computing and 3D printing technologies, Reuters reported Tuesday. The rules were mandated by a 2018 law meant to prevent the theft or loss of U.S. technology. Trade groups have been concerned that the White House would create tough regulations, but internal documents suggest the regulations will be limited in scope.

The administration is mulling blocking an export license for aircraft engine parts made by U.S. company General Electric intended for planes being built in China, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussion. China intends to use the engines in the creation of a new generation of passenger jets. Blocking the license could cripple the project.

Trump appeared to dispute the aircraft parts report in a Tweet on Tuesday, stating that he wanted China to buy the parts. “We don’t want to make it impossible to do business with us. That will only mean that orders will go to someplace else. As an example, I want China to buy our jet engines, the best in the World.”

In a follow-up tweet, he said, “I want to make it EASY to do business with the United States, not difficult. Everyone in my Administration is being so instructed, with no excuses.”

The White House referred questions on the reports to the Commerce Department, which had not responded as of press time.

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