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US curbs on ultra-high speed military computers to Pakistan lifted

   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.


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