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Arianespace warns US over Chinese space 'dumping'

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 30, 2007
The head of the European satellite launch group Arianespace, Jean-Yves Le Gall, warned the United States Friday against Chinese "dumping" in the market and suggested Washington should improve its oversight.

"Today, we see China has re-entered the market for commercial launches, using so-called "ITAR-Free" satellites designed and built without US technology," the Arianespace director general told a space industry luncheon in Washington.

"Coupled with cut-rate launch prices, China is working to flood the market with such satellites and I really think Europe and the US must rise together to address these issues which are very, very important," he said.

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a system of US regulations controlling the import and export of defense goods and services.

Under ITAR, all information related to military technologies may be shared only with approved Americans or individuals authorized by the State Department.

These rules theoretically prevent China from launching satellites containing any US component and confer on Washington a key role in space management.

"Everyone is suffering from the practices of the Chinese, who are dumping. One must call things as they are," Le Gall told AFP on the sidelines of the luncheon.

The Chinese "are doing more than that because they are circumventing the rules the Americans have made, thus attention must be paid."

The Arianespace leader said that "between Americans and Europeans, I think things are fine, but the question is to know how one manages this will -- that I can understand on the part of the Chinese -- to penetrate the commercial market."

Given the situation, "it's necessary to talk ... for the moment the subject is gaining momentum."

Addressing the luncheon audience of customers, rival companies and government representatives, Le Gall staunchly defended ITAR and assured that Arianespace scrupulously respects its rules.

"ITAR policy has been put in place for reasons that everybody well knows, and these reasons are, in my opinion, the cornerstone of the international space policy which is instrumental to guarantee peace in the world," he said.

"It will require some vigilance of all of us, if we are to enjoy an international climate that ensures a vibrant, Western commercial space-launch market and safeguards our shared security interests."

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