Major Overhaul of Export Controls Proposed

Yes, I do exports too, although not often here. But, this is important news, so I am passing it along.

In a policy speech yesterday, Defense Secretary Gates proposed a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. export control process. Under the current bifurcated system, the State Department controls the exports of munitions and the Commerce Department controls the exports of dual-use technology. According to the proposal, following a three-phase retooling, there will be a single agency charged with licensing and enforcement and a single list to check for licensing requirements.

According to the White House press release, implantation will go like this:

Phase I makes significant and immediate improvements to the existing system and establishes the framework necessary to create the new system, including making preparations for any legislative proposals. This phase includes implementing specific reform actions already in process and initiating review of new ones.

  • Control List – refine, understand, and harmonize definitions to end jurisdiction confusion between the two lists; establishes new independent control criteria to be used to screen items for control into new tiered control list structure.
  • Licensing – implement regulatory-based improvements to streamline licensing processes and standardize policy and processes to increase efficiencies.
  • Enforcement – synchronize and de-conflict enforcement by creation of an Enforcement Fusion Center.
  • IT – determine enterprise-wide needs and begin the process to reduce confusion by creating a single U.S. Government (USG) point of entry for exporters.

Phase II results in a fundamentally new U.S. export control system based on the current structure later this year. This phase completes deployment of specific Phase I reforms and initiates new actions contingent upon completion of Phase I items. Congressional notification will be required to remove munitions list controls or transfer items from the munitions list to the dual-use list, and additional funding will be required both for enhanced enforcement and the IT infrastructure.

  • Control List – restructure the two lists into identical tiered structures, apply criteria, remove unilateral controls as appropriate, and submit proposals multilaterally to add or remove controls.
  • Licensing – complete transition to mirrored control list system and fully implement licensing harmonization to allow export authorizations within each control tier to achieve a significant license requirement reduction which is compatible with national security equities.
  • Enforcement – expand outreach and compliance.
  • IT – transition toward a single electronic licensing system.

Phase III completes the transition to the new U.S. export control system. Legislation would be required for this phase:

  • Control List – merge the two lists into a single list, and implement systematic process to keep current.
  • Licensing – implement single licensing agency.
  • Enforcement – consolidate certain enforcement activities into a Primary Enforcement Coordination Agency.
  • IT – implement a single, enterprise-wide IT system (both licensing and enforcement).


GlobalTradeNews said…
Thanks for the information. I am sure that US exporters are happy that the government is following through on their promise of an export-control reform. Global Trade News blog will also be tracking changes and updates from the National Export Initiative (NEI).

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