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Boeing chief backs bid by China to expand trade
He says WTO would force Asian nation to shape up

LOS ANGELES -- Boeing Co. chairman Phil Condit on Monday defended China's bid to enter the World Trade Organization, saying it would force Beijing to play by the rules.

Condit also told reporters the United States should not unilaterally restrict the sale of technology to China. Tighter controls should be formulated in concert with European allies through an organization such as NATO."This is not about making a gift to China," Condit said following a speech to about 200 business representatives attending a conference on trade with Southeast Asia. "The exchange of sensitive information is always a subject that will take a lot of care. I put it to the U.S., we have to be careful with our information."

Congress began considering tighter controls on trade with China following the release two weeks ago of a House report detailing 20 years of Chinese espionage against the United States.

Major portions of the report dealt with the theft of nuclear weapons technology from top-secret labs. But the report also suggested that China has acquired significant amounts of aerospace and manufacturing technology through commercial trade with U.S. companies.

U.S. trade negotiators are attempting to craft a deal with China that would open the world's most populous nation to U.S. companies and allow China to enter the WTO. The group, based in Geneva., Switzerland, makes and enforces rules for international trade.

If China enters the WTO it will be forced to open its markets and abide by the same rules that govern trade among most nations.