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The Bush administration has relaxed controls on the export on advanced computers to Russia, China, India and certain countries in the Middle East.

Servers and workstations capable of performing up to 85,000 millions of theoretical operations per second, more than twice the previous limit, can now be exported to so-called "Tier 3" countries (such as Pakistan and Vietnam) without specific authorisation from the government.

US allies, such as Canada and Western European states, have never been subject to such export controls, introduced in 1979 with the aim of limiting the availability of technology which could be used in the development of nuclear weapons. This left the possibility that blacklisted countries could obtain servers from outside the US.

The US will maintain its embargo on technology exports to "pariah" states including Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Syria. ®

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