US slaps sanctions against Asian firms

Agence France Presse

Washington, January 19:

The United States has slapped new sanctions against seven Chinese companies as well as two firms from Taiwan and North Korea, charging they may have helped Iran in its quest for weapons of mass destruction and more modern ballistic missiles.

A state department notice published in the latest issue of the Federal Register said the nine conglomerates are being penalized for transferring to Iran ‘equipment and technology controlled under multilateral export control lists.’ No specifics have been provided, but the action comes amid increased concerns the administration of president George W Bush may be toughening its stance toward the Islamic Republic accused of harboring nuclear ambitions.

The measures call for a full US government embargo against the listed businesses and their subsidiaries as well as their exclusion from any US federal assistance program. All export licenses that involve the nine companies are being suspended and ‘no new individual licences shall be granted,’ according to the notice, ‘These measures shall be implemented by the responsible departments and agencies of the United States Government and will remain in place for two years from the effective date.’

Barred firms:

• Beijing Alite Technologies Limited,

• China Aero-Technology Import Export Corporation,

• China Great Wall Industry Corporation,

• China North Industry Corporation (Norinco),

• QC Chen,

• Wha Cheong Tai Company,

• Zibo Chemet Equipment Corporation,

• Ecoma Enterprise, a Taiwanese firm

• Paeksan Associated Corporation of North Korea, a firm controlled by the Communist government.

• Norinco and China Great Wall Industry that have close ties to the People’s Liberation Army are already under US sanctions for violating various export control regimes, and it was not immediately clear how the new measures will affect their business.