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US Sanctions Chinese Company Allegedly Transferring Missile Technology to Iran - 2003-05-23

The United States has imposed economic sanctions against a major Chinese manufacturing company for allegedly selling missile-related goods to Iran. China denies the company, North China Industries or Norinco, had been aiding the Iranian missile program.

It is not the first time a Chinese company has faced U.S. sanctions. But it may be one of the costliest such cases, in that the decision may deprive Norinco of more than $100 million in U.S. export business over the next two years.

An announcement Friday in the U.S. government's official journal, The Federal Register, said Norinco was involved in weapons proliferation activity and will be barred from doing business with U.S. federal agencies and from exporting goods to the United States.

The posting gave no details of the alleged offense, but officials said it involved sales to an Iranian missile builder, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial group, that is already under U.S. sanctions for missile dealings with North Korea.

Norinco is one of China's biggest industrial combines and makes products ranging from weapons to toys. The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied the firm was aiding Iran's missile program and called the sanctions unreasonable.