Leaders of a coalition for export control reform are confident that recommendations they made to the White House may result in a system that protects national security without impeding exports of U.S. goods.
The Coalition for Security and Competitiveness, composed of 17 manufacturing and trade groups, on Jan. 12 presented a list of recommendations to the White House for changes in an export control system that has changed little since it was established in the 1950s. They expect a favorable response because the Obama administration strongly favors changing the system.
“What’s new is the attitude of this administration. It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever seen,” said Frank Vargo, vice president for international economic affairs with the National Association of Manufacturers. “The president, the secretary of defense, and the secretary of state are all saying that this is hurting us in terms of security, and it’s hurting our competitiveness.”
Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said the group was not asking for structural changes in the system. What industry wants are clear lines to tell what goods are controlled by what department and that agencies use a transparent process to determine what should be on the list.
Remy Nathan, assistant vice president of international affairs for the Aerospace Industries Association, said controlled items were “no longer the purview of companies that deal solely in defense goods or high-security high-technology items. Any company at any given time may find itself working with a technology that requires some level of control, regardless of its size.”
The group said that many of their recommendations may be done by the administration without legislation. They also noted that Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., is drafting an export control bill that could sanction the changes in law. Berman is expected to introduce the bill early this year.
The complete list of the coalition’s export control recommendations may be found online at www.securityandcompetitiveness.org.
Contact R.G. Edmonson at firstname.lastname@example.org.