Improve Export Controls for Security, Competition

By November 20, 2007Technology, Trade

Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL), writing in The Hill Blog:

The purpose of U.S. export control policy is to keep sensitive goods and technology away from our potential adversaries and facilitate legitimate trade with our allies. These “Cold War” era controls have not been updated for the 21st century and now impede trade without providing adequate national security protection.

Under our current regime, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was able to start a nuclear program, as was Iran. But these same controls have led to our closest allies designing out U.S. technology and “know how” to avoid the extraterritoriality of our controls. For example, the British Future Rapid Effect System, the next generation of weapons systems for the United Kingdom, will not employ “best in the world” U.S. technology because it’s too difficult to get an export license.

Manzullo, who co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional Manufacturing Caucus, writes that he identified the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) overseen by the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls as the best venue for improving the export controls system.

We’re not up to speed on all the provisions in the bipartisan H.R. 4246, the Defense Trade Controls Performance Improvement Act, introduced on November 15 by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), so cannot speak to the validity of each and every provision. Still, the NAM greatly appreciates the attention, approach and leadership being shown on this arcane yet politically difficult issue. Improving export controls will serve the nation’s security interests while bringing a measure of predictability and accountability to the approval process.

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