President Obama Announces Export Controls Reforms

By December 9, 2010Regulations, Technology

In his remarks today to the President’s Export Council, President Obama ran through the various parts of his National Export Initiative, intended to double U.S. exports within five (now a little more than four) years. He reaffirmed the the importance of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and closed on export controls.

Finally, we’ve also been working to reform our export control system with high-tech companies like some of yours in mind, so that American firms that make products with national security implications can stay competitive even as we better protect our national security interests.

When this council met in September, some of you asked that we make it easier for businesses to participate in these reform efforts.  So today, I’m pleased to announce that we’re publishing a first set of guidelines for what products should be controlled going forward, and the licensing policies that will apply to them.  As an example, we’ve applied those policies to one category of products.  In that one category, about three-quarters of products previously subjected to stricter controls will be shifted to a more flexible list, and many are expected to fall off the list altogether.  And we want input from businesses, from Congress and from our allies as we complete this reform.

 Today, we’re also unveiling a new export control reform web page as part of the revamped  This is something that Secretary Locke mentioned in our last meeting.  Typically, all businesses that export have to go through a maze of different lists, different formats, from different departments, to make sure they’re not selling their products somewhere or to someone that they shouldn’t be.  As important as that is, the process is repetitive, it’s redundant, and particularly onerous for small businesses without the means to navigate it all.

So we’re changing that.  Effective today, businesses can, for the very first time, go to and download one consolidated list of entities that have special export requirements.

Here’s the webpage at for the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative.

The President’s announcement embraces many of the recommendations the National Association of Manufacturers and member companies have developed, included in “The NAM Blueprint for a 21st Century Export Control Regime.” As NAM President John Engler said in a statement, “These proposed changes will strengthen national security, improve U.S. competitiveness, and increase export opportunities for manufacturers.”

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