New regulations intended to strictly control exports of nuclear-related products and technology from China were announced yesterday. The move follows American criticism of suspected Chinese nuclear technology transfers and is aimed at improving the atmosphere for President Clinton's meeting with President Jiang Zemin in Beijing on June 27. The regulations, which are effective immediately, require export agents for dual-use nuclear goods - items that can be used for either military or civilian purposes - to register with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation. 'All export agents must apply for permits every time they want to export nuclear equipment, nuclear materials or technology listed in the regulations,' Xinhua said. The regulations apply to all categories of nuclear exports, whether for trade, gifts, exhibitions, technology co-operation or aid programmes. 'Permits will only be granted if receivers promise not to use the export items or technologies for bombs. Neither must they be used for nuclear facilities not operating under international safeguards. Further, they must not transfer them to a third party without the Chinese Government's approval,' said the news agency. Export permit applications will be jointly scrutinised by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, the China Atomic Energy Authority and the Foreign Ministry. Approval will normally be granted within 45 days, but major transactions will still need approval by the State Council. Any official or export agent who violates the new rules could face criminal prosecution.