U.S. gov't voices opposition to China's WLAN standard

IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Looking ahead, BDA's Truscott expects Chinese officials to yield on some of the provisions related to the implementation of the standard before the June 1 compliance deadline.

"I don't think anyone believes the Chinese WLAN standard will be implemented to the letter on June 1. I don't think WAPI will disappear entirely. It's going to be a compromise," Truscott said.

Networking equipment vendors have trod cautiously around the issue of China's WLAN standard, with most companies saying only that they are studying the matter.

Nevertheless, the matter is drawing the attention of top industry executives. Pat Gelsinger, Intel Corp.'s chief technology officer, was scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Thursday to discuss several technology matters, including WAPI, with Chinese officials.

The issue has also drawn the attention of U.S. officials, who have voiced their concerns over the standard's implementation.

"China is turning to special standards designed to limit foreign participation in key sectors," Zoellick said in an address to the Asia Society on Feb. 25, according to a copy of his speech. "For example, China's mandatory new encryption standard for wireless networking products would make China the only WTO member to introduce such a mandate for consumer products - a restriction compounded by granting domestic companies exclusive control over the technology."

Members of the U.S. Congress have also expressed concern over the implementation of China's WLAN standard and have pushed officials in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush to become actively involved in the matter.

Representative Philip Crane (Republican, Illinois), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Trade; Representative Charles Rangel (Democrat, New York), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Max Baucus (Democrat, Montana), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, asked Zoellick to become personally involved in the issue and to raise the matter with his Chinese counterpart, ITI said.

In addition, Representatives Crane and Rangel, and Senators Craig Thomas (Republican, Wyoming), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on International Trade, and Gordon Smith (Republican, Oregon) sent a letter to Yang Jiechi, China's ambassador to the U.S., urging the Chinese government to work with the U.S. on a "mutually acceptable resolution" of the matter, ITI said.

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