WASHINGTON — President Clinton will relax Cold War-era export restrictions on high-performance computers to allow U.S. companies to compete better in world markets, the White House said Monday.
The decision is a victory for technology firms, many of which are headed by Clinton's political supporters.
The restrictions were intended to prevent the spread of technology that might help America's adversaries strengthen their military might, in particular their missiles and nuclear capability.
However, Administration officials say that what was once defined as supercomputer technology is now readily available in laptop computers.
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton is expected to liberalize the rules soon, but has not decided to what degree he should so.
"He will ease it," McCurry said. "There might be ways of staging different export decisions depending on the type of country you're dealing with. London is not like dealing with Baghdad."