ISLAMABAD, Jan 4 (Internews):
Pakistan expects to benefit immensely from
the decision by the United States to ease restrictions on export of
ultra-high speed computers with military applications, official sources
said here Friday.
The United States has decided to raise the level above which the
American exporters are required to notify the Commerce Department of
proposed exports of dual-use computers to Tier 3 countries - which
include Pakistan and India - to 190,000m of theoretical operations per
second (MTOPS) from the existing 85,000 MTOPS.
"While the relaxation is largely meant to benefit US exports in the
current highly competitive international market, it will increase
Pakistan's access to high-performance computers manufactured in the US
and lessen dependence on clones," an official here said.
The new step by the Bush administration marks a gradual process of
easing restrictions on dual-use computers that began under the Clinton
administration. The measure requires a 60-day Congressional notification
period before it can become effective.
All Middle Eastern countries, the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam
and parts of South Eastern Europe are also part of Tier 3.
Announcing the upgrade, the White House said that the administration
would also raise the individual licensing level for Tier 3 to 190,000
MTOPS. It has been decided to move Latvia from Tier 3 to Tier 1.
Tier 1 countries are Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia,
New Zealand, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Brazil, South and
Central America, South Korea, most of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations, Slovenia and most of Africa.
The United States will continue to maintain a virtual embargo on
computer hardware and technology exports to Iraq, Iran, Libya, North
Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Syria.
For all countries, US re-export and retransfer requirements, and
provisions of the Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative (EPCI) will
continue to apply.
The EPCI provides authority for the government to block exports of
computers (or any other item) in cases where there is an unacceptable
risk of diversion to proliferation activities (e.g., foreign nuclear
weapons design laboratories). Criminal and civil penalties apply to EPCI
The administration will raise the licence exception level for exports of
general purpose microprocessors from 6,500 MTOPS to 12,000 MTOPS.
The White House said the actions announced advance President Bush's goal
of reforming the US export control system so that it avoids ineffective
controls, and focuses on truly sensitive goods and technologies.