Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Sylvia R. Gill


The trade policy of the People's Republic of China encourages imports of computer technology from the United States. While this interest in its products should allow the United States to improve its balance of trade, exporters of computer technology are encountering barriers from American regulators which make it difficult to meet the Chinese demand. This Note examines the rules adopted by Congress and the Department of Commerce that have affected the competitive posture of American companies wishing to sell computer technology to China. The author focuses on the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the 1985 amendments to that Act. The author points out that the 1985 amendments were designed to reduce government interference with the exportation of technology. Nonetheless, the effort was not entirely successful, as security checks and delays in the licensing process are still major obstacles to the smooth flow of merchandise necessary to competitiveness. The author concludes that further changes to the export control system are necessary. Suggested improvements include a clear definition of regulatory objectives, special licensing mechanisms to expedite the shipment of nonsensitive technology, and application processing linked to the goods' destination.