BAKER DEFENDS MOVE TO END US SANCTIONS AGAINST CHINA

BAKER DEFENDS MOVE TO END US SANCTIONS AGAINST CHINA

Secretary of State James Baker Monday defended the decision to lift U.S. sanctions against China, saying Beijing's written pledge to abide by an international accord to restrict the spread of advanced missile technology was ''a very, very substantial and significant step forward."

But he said that if the Chinese government did not adhere to its commitment, the sanctions, which were lifted last week, would be reimposed.The administration last June imposed sanctions, preventing sales of high performance computers to China following evidence it was supplying missiles to Syria and Pakistan. The restrictions were lifted late Friday.

The U.S. Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Association applauded the administration's decision Monday.

"Unilateral prohibitions on computer sales to China imposed a pronounced handicap on the U.S. computer industry, cutting off U.S. sales while allowing these same sales to be made by our foreign competitors," said association president John L. Pickitt.

He said the policy served to block all U.S. exports of computers exceeding a certain performance level - even those designated for legitimate civilian uses.

"It swept in many large commercial systems and eliminated significant revenue potential for U.S. manufacturers," he said.