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Craig Barrett, CEO of the Intel Corporation, has put his and his company's muscle into a push to bestow permanent normal trade relations with Red China, according to a report in Electronic Buyers' News. Barrett told influential US trade body the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) yesterday that a failure by the US Congress to allow Red China to be a full member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with normalised trade relations will have a negative effect on American high tech firms. Unless Congress bestowed this move for normal trading status, said Barrett, while China might be a member of the WTO, no trade benefits were likely to accrue. The reason for the SIA's -- and Intel's concern -- is that the Chinese market for computer related kit is growing at around 40 per cent per year. The US chip firms want their share of this potentially tasty cake. Intel already has some design centres in Red China, and has for long has pushed for better relations with the regime. Andy Grove, Intel's chairman, has made several visits to the country over the last seven or eight years. But the position is complicated by the current bout of sabre rattling between Red China and Taiwan, which is just about to hold elections and wants to remain independent from the mainland. The US government has asked China in the last week to refrain from threatening Taiwan. Despite belligerent noises from Beijing in the last week, it would not be in China's interest to rock the Taiwanese boat too roughly. Taiwan is an IT powerhouse and also has many factories on the mainland. You can find the EBN report here

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