Congress, Other, White House

Export control reform (sorta)

On Tuesday President Bush signed a set of directives to improve the current export control process for items on the U.S. Munitions List. While this is being called “reform” in some quarters, it’s really more of an improvement of existing processes, as outlined in a State Department fact sheet: additional funding will be allocated for the review of license applications, a 60-day deadline for a decision on a license application, and electronic application systems for all types of licenses. The reforms do not, however, involve taking anything on or off the Munitions List, such as satellite components.

Despite the limited scope of the reforms, industry is endorsing the changes. “We view the administration’s action as an important step in a long-term process to achieve meaningful reform in the way the United States regulates defense trade and advanced technology exchange,” the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness said in a statement. The coalition submitted a set of recommendations for licensing changes on the Munitions List as well as dual-use items to the administration in March 2007, a subset of which were adopted.

The problems with the export control process prompted Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) to introduce HR 4246 in November. That bill includes some of the same reforms that the administration enacted this week; one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Dan Manzullo (R-IL), told The Hill that he and others in Congress worked with the administration on the announced reforms.

4 comments to Export control reform (sorta)

  • This is a first step toward releasing the American satellite industry from the stranglehold of ITAR. I’m happy to see that some progress is being made.

  • It is rare that I have anything good to say about this Administration, but this was something the Republicans had to do. Since they created the mess, they had to open the door to a solution. Hopefully, Democrats will now act responsibly and take advantage of this opening to work with the Administration on further reform.

    — Donald

  • Luke Skywalker

    Actually the mess was created by Clinton’s top fundraiser Bernie what’s his name when his company helped the Chinese improve their guidance systems.

  • Still think the ITAR and dual use language can ‘trump’ any export/import
    or foreign country/contractor working with U.S. company/contractor or gov’t project. The aerospace/astronautic industry is still plagued with unwarranted distrust.

    Fine for satellite but not so for nuclear science research.

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