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The British Government, widely assumed to be spineless on the issue (CI No 620), has shown the bulldog to have more teeth than was imagined, and the Department of Trade & Industry has firmly told the US Commerce Department that it may not audit the books of British high-tech companies that include US parts in their systems, and may export the systems to countries out of favour with the US: the exception is where a company specifically requests an audit because it wants to retain approved foreign consignee status; under existing rules, US licences have to be obtained for export of sensitive goods to all foreign companies, but under the new rules, some foriegn companies will be granted a blanket licence as approved foreign consignees.

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