U.S. pushes China to explain commercial Internet curbs

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 12:24 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is pressing China to explain why its "national firewall" blocks so many U.S. companies from providing their services, according to a letter obtained Wednesday that is another sign of growing trade tension between the world's two largest economies.

"Having a presence on the Internet that is visible in China is increasingly a critical element for service suppliers aiming to reach Chinese consumers and business," Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Michael Punke said in a letter on Monday to his Chinese counterpart.

"Some companies based outside of China have faced challenges offering their services to Chinese customers when their websites are blocked by China's national firewall," Punke said, adding the government has heard concerns from "a number of service suppliers" about the problem.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler)