US relaxes export curbs on computers
The United States has further relaxed its export controls on computers to allow American companies to sell much faster computer systems to 50 countries, including India and Pakistan.
Other beneficiaries of the relaxation, fifth since 1993, are Russia, China, Vietnam and countries in the Middle East and Central Europe.
A White House media statement on Friday said the action reflected the Clinton Administration's efforts 'to ensure effective controls on militarily sensitive technology while taking into account increased availability of commodity products, such as servers and workstations, of which millions are manufactured and sold world-wide every year''.
The revised plan doubles the speed of computers that can be sold without prior US government approval to these 50 countries in the 'Tier III' category.
Computer speed is defined as millions of theoretical operations per second, or MTOPS. Under the new revisions, Tier III countries can buy computers with up to 28,000 MTOPS, the White House said.
This eliminates a distinction in the previous regulations that set one limit for civilian users and a lower limit for military users. The revision for these countries becomes effective in six months.
Countries included in the 'Tier II' category, such as those in Central and South America, South Korea, Estonia, most of South-East Asia and parts of Africa, will be permitted to buy computers with speed as high as 45,000 MTOPS -- up from 33,000 MTOPS, the White House said.
This revision becomes effective almost immediately.
Tier I countries -- Western Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Brazil and Argentina-- are permitted unrestricted computer purchases without an individual license, but subject to government review, the White House said.