A report expected to be released today could address one of the major obstacles to export control reform. The Wall Street Journal reports that an Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) report will quantify the effects that strict export control reforms have had on the aerospace industry since the late 1990s. According to the article, the move of satellites and related components to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) export control regime cost the industry up to $21 billion in lost sales and more than 4,000 jobs in satellite manufacturing alone. That report is scheduled to be provided at a hearing on export control reform by the House Foreign Affairs Committee scheduled for this morning.
The report would answer one of the criticisms of export control reform efforts: the lack of solid evidence that ITAR had, in fact, directly hurt the American satellite manufacturing industry. Congressional staffers had previously noted the lack of specific data on the adverse impacts of ITAR as one reason why export control reforms had stalled: while there were plenty of anecdotes and horror stories about the effects of ITAR, it was difficult to separate ITAR from other factors as the cause of effects such as the a drop in US share of the commercial satellite manufacturing market. Whether this new AIA report will create Congressional support for potential reforms to aid the industry, though, remains to be seen, especially in an election year.